Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Attack of the clones

Bamboo plants also rely on vegetative reproduction. They form new stems that resemble but aren't actually suckers. Suckers sprout from a root, whereas bamboo stems grow from underground stems called rhizomes. Why isn't a rhizome considered a root? Because it produces shoots and leaves. First we saw aerial roots, now underground stems!

Rhizomes grow parallel to the soil surface and can spread rapidly, sending out large numbers of new stems. That's why when planting bamboo it is best to install an underground barrier to contain the rhizomes. Otherwise, if you're not careful, your garden will be overrun.


Photo of unearthed roots and rhizomes of a bamboo plant, Fargesia robusta
Fargesia robusta
© Noah Bell
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