Plants spreading widely and forming dense, separated clumps. Culms to 10 m tall, to 5 cm in diam., pluricaespitose, suberect; internodes sulcate above branches, finely ridged, glossy above and below nodes, glaucous and matt with thin wax elsewhere, wax separating to give irregular light patches; nodes with thin sheath scar; supranodal ridge prominent, branches 3-4 at first. Culm sheaths tough, deciduous, convexly attenuating to narrow apex, apically slightly asymmetrical, with brown appressed hairs at apex and base, and more widespread erect hairs at first, especially on broad thickened sheath base; auricles absent; oral setae sparse, scabrous and erect, or absent; ligule arcuate, to 10mm wide, to 2 mm deep, arcuate, densely pubescent, margin fimbriate at first; blade small, narrowly lanceolate, deciduous, reflexed or erect, adaxial scabrous. Leaf sheaths persistent, glabrous, purple above, margins membranous and lightly ciliate at first; ligule very long, to 4 mm, densely pubescent and ciliate to fimbriate at first; auricles absent; oral setae very scarce or absent; blade to 25 cm long, to 3.5 cm wide, tough, dark glossy green above, abaxial lightly tomentose; petiole glabrous. Named after Paul Guillaume Farges, nineteenth century missionary and plant collector in China.
A handsome and vigorous bamboo, very hardy, but often invasive. Widely distributed in China and likely to have substantial variation in characters, although only one introduction is currently known, received from Taihang Mt in Hebei Province, by Max Riedelsheimer in Germany in 1982.