Simple, very brief descriptions of all the cultivated bamboos have been given in the species tables of the ABS Species Source List each year since 1981, but these are limited by the space available. Horticultural and coffee-table books provide longer descriptions. Nursery websites are now providing more information and several provide very nice descriptions from a horticultural viewpoint, often with photos, although species covered are obviously limited to the stock they hold, and are most relevant to their particular climatic conditions. See the selection below of nurseries which have good identification of their stock (in alphabetical order).
Formal descriptions use more precise botanical terminology. These are found in journals and floras (books that list plants and their characters). Descriptions are also steadily being added and improved in the Guide to Cultivated Bamboos section of this site.