Rhizomes to 2 m, often arching above the ground. Culms to 5 m, to 3 cm in diam., pendulous, basally subsolid, distally flexuose, in dense to open thickets; nodes greatly swollen, sheath scar elevated and supranodal ridge expanded into a double disc; internodes to 25 cm, glabrous, without wax, smooth, distinctly sulcate above branches, glossy light green at first, becoming yellow-green. Culm sheaths deciduous, shorter than the internode, thick, tessellation obscure, apically purple-green, with scattered bristly erect brown hairs at first, edges densely long-ciliate; auricles absent; oral setae 2--3 mm, brown, erect; ligule to 1.5 mm tall, arcuate, ciliolate, densely short-pubescent; blade 2--12 mm, subulate, erect. Leaf sheaths glabrous, margins shortly ciliate; ligule short, to 1.5mm tall, rounded; auricles absent; oral setae few, erect, to 3 mm, white; blade narrow, to 12 cm # 8 mm, abaxially glabrous; adaxial midrib scabrous, petiole adaxially shortly pubescent. Name from the Latin, tumidus, ‘swollen’, and nodus, from the extremely swollen culm nodes.
Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda with its swollen nodes is the classic bamboo of walking sticks and Chinese art. It has sometimes been placed in a separate genus, Qiongzhuea, mainly on the basis of the swollen nodes, but the type species of that genus does not actually have such swollen nodes and is very similar to Chimonobambusa quadrangularis, so the genus is no longer widely recognized. It can be a very invasive bamboo, spreading widely.
This species was first described as Qiongzhuea tumidinoda, but that name was invalid, as 2 type collections were cited instead of one, contrary to the requirements of the Code of Botanical Nomenclature. It was later validly published for the first time as Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda.
Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda was introduced into the UK from China by Peter Addington in 1987.