Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A new variety of bamboo, a fluke or recipe for disappointment?

I often stroll about the backyard, usually on some project or just merely focused on a gardening basic, like keeping your plants watered during a hot summer day.  It's easy to get so focused that you forget the little things, the garden surprises that lurk around the corner, soon to be discovered in the garden.

Admittedly, when I had passed by a three gallon container of Bambusa multiplex "Alphonse Karr" (a clumping bamboo) that I recently potted and that was slated to be sold at a farmers market or a plant sale, it never really caught my eye.  It's not unusual during the summer to see leaves on bamboo that are heat stressed, faded or just show the effects of the season's extremes.  I had probably walked by this bamboo several dozen times thinking a heat stressed culm on this bamboo had met its final days, fried in the hot, brutal Sacramento sun.

Finally, the other night, this plant caught my attention. Not sure why, but it did. Pure white leaves, mixed with dark green leaves, unusual, but very unlikely to be anything but dead leaves. I touched the leaves thinking that they were for sure dry, but much to my surprise, the leaves were alive and very healthy.  My heart, going pitter patter, I knelt down and examined the plant further - three independent white-leaved culms among maybe a total of six other green-leaved culms.

My thought process - Eureka! A new variety!

Excited, I showed my wife who dispensed caution that this could indeed be a fluke, a mere coincidence.  In bamboo geek-speak - a genetic anomaly.  Only time will tell, I suppose.  But, it was exciting to possibly have a new variety on my hands that perhaps, if I'm lucky, I could submit to the American Bamboo Society as a named variety.

So, as usual, getting way ahead of myself, I posted the photo on Facebook asking for common names for my "new" bamboo (if it turns out to be a stable new variety)...

This is what I got on Facebook (lots of clever folks for sure):

"Dove Bamboo"

"Ghost Bamboo"

"White Oragami"

"Crane Bamboo"

"White Gold"

"White Light"

"Peace Doves"

"White Unicorn"

"White Bamboo"

"Dawn Mist"

"Mist at Dawn"

"Karr Blanche" (clever)

So, I have a spot picked out for this bamboo.  I will grow it out and observe it to see if its genetics are stable and showed the white-leaved leaf as a consistent trait.  If so, I'll submit it as a new named variety, a dream come true for a plant geek like me. So, if you read this blog and have a great idea for a new name, post it here.  Who knows, it it rings true, I may use it.


Mad Man Bamboo - Rocklin, CA
(916) 300-6335
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Anonymous said...

How about Anicca-its the pali word for change and indeed it did!

Anonymous said...

White lightning

Unknown said...

I have three AK plants, each with dozens of culms, and I've had two come out exactly like you describe. As fars as I can tell, it's a mutation that occurs from time to time. But maybe you got one that is all mutant!