Plants spreading widely and forming dense thickets. Culms to 0.5-3 m tall, to 3-8 mm in diam., pluricaespitose, initially very erect, later nodding; internodes terete, smooth, glossy with light wax below nodes, often purple-spotted, all purple when exposed; nodes with thin dark sheath scar; supranodal ridge absent, branches 3-4 at first, erect, precocious, basal internodes long. Culm sheaths thin, persistent, convexly attenuating to narrow apex, glabrous, margins distally ciliate?; auricles absent; oral setae absent; ligule arcuate, to 1 mm wide deep; blade small, lanceolate, deciduous, reflexed. Leaf sheaths persistent, glabrous, becoming red-purple above, margins ?; ligule obliquely truncate, c. 1 mm, glabrous and serrulate; auricles small, round or ovate; oral setae several, spreading or radiating, twisted, 3-8 mm long; blade to 12 cm long, to 14 mm wide, thin, adaxially matt or slightly glossy, glabrous, abaxial matt, glabrous; petiole glabrous. Named after Ernst Faber (1839-1899), German missionary and plant collector, who first collected it.
A very hardy spreading bamboo with no culm sheath auricles or oral setae, distal internode wax, and several persistent, radiating, wavy leaf sheath oral setae, usually from a rounded auricle, rather than the more oblong leaf sheath auricle of S. racemosus. Flowered in the 1980s with serious consequences for Giant Pandas in China.
The name Arundinaria fangiana was published after publication of the name A. faberi. A. fangiana was described from Emei Shan in Sichuan, and the type of A. faberi is very likely to be also from Emei Shan. From their type localities and similarities they are very probably the same species, so the epithet fangiana would be a synonym of faberi, in every genus.
Bashania qingchengshanensis, with larger leaves, rougher culms, and more branches, Sarocalamus spanostachyus with single leaf sheath oral setae and no leaf sheath auricles, and this species, are all grown under the names Bashania faberi and Bashania fangianus, or combinations in Gelidocalamus, as is a further as yet unidentified bamboo in western cultivation.
Note that Gelidocalamus is not closely related to either Sarocalamus or Bashania.
Introduced from Wolong by Campbell as 1980s seed, and from Pingwu in Sichuan in 1997.