Rhizomes to 1 m or longer, remaining below ground. Culms 2–6 m tall, 1–2 cm in diam., erect or nodding, diffuse and solitary in open spreading thickets; nodes slightly raised, lower nodes only with roots, some thorny, glabrous; internodes terete or basally slightly square, to 22 cm, grooved and ridged above branches, smooth, no hairs, matt to silky mid green or purple after exposure to sun. Branches 3 per node. Culm sheaths shorter than internodes, quickly deciduous, thickly papery, glabrous, not spotted, main veins initially purple, transverse veins obscure, only prominent distally, margins shortly ciliate; ligule 0.5–1 mm, shortly ciliate; blade subulate-triangular, 2–5 mm, articulate. Leaf sheaths leathery, glabrous, deciduous, red-purple after exposure, margin shortly ciliate: ligule 1–1.5 mm, truncate, tomentose; auricles absent; oral setae 1-4, pale to purple, stout, 3–5 mm, on basal sheaths more and spreading, on proximal sheaths fewer and erect; blades 1–3 per ultimate branch, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, to 18 × 2.5 cm, secondary veins 4–6-paired, conspicuously tessellate, abaxial and adaxial glabrous, petiole glabrous. Name from Szechuan, the old spelling of the province, now called Sichuan, in which it was discovered.
A striking species with broad leaves and purple tinges to exposed culms and branches.
Chimonobambusa sichuanensis, a similar bamboo from 100 miles to the north, has a confusingly similar name. Neither of these species have been described in depth from Chinese collections and the distinctions between them remain vague, although C. sichuanensis is meant to have more persistent culm sheaths with initially scabrous bases. About 20 species of Chimonobambusa have been described from Sichuan Province.
The type collection of Chimonobambusa szechuanensis was made by E.H. Wilson on Wa Shan, and plants introduced into Europe and the US are from nearby Emei Shan. Bamboo on Wa Shan.