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Pleioblastus viridistriatus

leaf blade lower surface leaf blade upper surface
See type specimen in Kew Herbarium
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  Type Specimen Image

  (Herbarium Catalogue)

exact origin unknown
see account in Index to Japanese Bambusaceae
see account in Flora of China
see listing in ABS Species & Sources List
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See description in Kew's GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora
See description in Kew's GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora

Pleioblastus viridistriatus (Regel) Makino, J. Jap. Bot. 3(3): 11. 1926. 

 Synonyms: Bambusa viridistriata Regel; Arundinaria viridistriata (Regel) Makino; Bambusa viridistriata Andr, illeg. hom.; Sasa viridistriata (Regel) Fiori; Arundinaria auricoma Mitford; Pleioblastus auricomus (Mitford) D. McClint.; Pseudosasa auricoma (Mitford) Bergmans; Sasa auricoma (Mitford) Camus; Pleioblastus kongosanensis Makino.

  Missouri Botanical Garden's Tropicos Database of Names  TROPICOS

    International Plant Names Index   IPNI

   Multilingual Multiscript Plant Names Database  MMPND


Culms 0.5–1(–2) m tall, 0.2–0.4 cm thick; internodes 10–17 cm, softly pubescent, green, becoming purple where exposed, apically waxy; nodes prominent. Branches 1 per node in the first year, 1 or 2 more in the second year, proximal nodes budless, lateral branching from more distal nodes. Culm sheaths persistent, shorter than the internode, very shortly tomentose when young, apically waxy at first; margins ciliate; auricles distally absent to proximally small and rounded; oral setae 2–5 each side, deciduous, distally erect, proximally spreading, 2–8 mm, white, glabrous; ligule very short, inconspicuous. Leaf sheaths tomentose, external margin ciliate; auricles very small or absent; oral setae 0–5 each side, erect or spreading, 3–10 mm, glabrous; ligule very short, to 0.5 mm, inconspicuous; blade 10–15 cm long, 1.2–2.2 cm wide, all green or initially bright yellow, or bright yellow with green stripes, becoming more uniform light and dark green, lower surface densely shortly tomentose, upper surface more sparsely so; margins scabrous.

Name from Latin viridis, ‘green’ and striatus, ‘lined’, as the leaf blades on the first cultivar encountered have such broad yellow stripes that they effectively have green stripes on a yellow background.

As in many bamboos the presence of auricles and oral setae on culm sheaths and leaf sheaths varies substantially. At the end of a shoot (distally) they may be absent or small and erect, while at the base (proximally) they are often quite strongly developed and spreading outwards much more.

Pleioblastus viridistriatus is native to Japan, where it has been grown widely for centuries, and it is now cultivated in many parts of the world. The best-known cultivar has leaf blades with broad yellow stripes on its leaf blades in spring. A larger, wild, very similar, all-green bamboo was later described as Pleioblastus kongosanensis. It is considered synonymous, but the epithet viridistriatus was published first, so it must be used, even for plants with no stripes. Cultivar ‘Chrysophyllus’ has almost completely yellow leaf blades at first.

For highly technical reasons the names Arundinaria auricoma and Pleioblastus viridistriatus could not theoretically be used, and authorities in the UK started to use Arundinaria auricoma instead. However Pleioblastus viridistriatus was being used so widely in all other countries of the world that a proposal requesting the legitimisation of the use of this name was made (Stapleton & Renvoize, 2001) and this was officially sanctioned in 2004.