Practical information to identify and manage non-native, invasive plants and animals
The Quiet Invasion:
A Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area
Golden bamboo
Phyllostachys aurea

USDA Symbol:PHAU8
ITIS TSN:42023
Presence:Current Invaders
Habitat:Terrestrial
Native Range:China
Toxic Characteristics
This species is not known to be toxic.
Geographic Distribution
Prominent in the Southeastern U.S. as far north as Maryland and west to Arkansas and Texas. Located on the West Coast as far north as Oregon. Found in the Lower Galveston Bay watershed, namely within the Houston urban area and residential communities.
Introduction Pathways
Introduced in Alabama in 1882 as an ornamental. Continues to be introduced as a fenceline buffer in residential and urban areas.
Specific Primary Habitats
Thrives in full or partial sun and in moist, deep loamy soils. Often found as dense thickets along roadsides and residential right of ways. Also invades secondary forests, clearings, and forest edges.
Identifying Characteristics
A bamboo plant consists of two parts: the aboveground jointed stem called a culm, and the underground jointed rhizome which bears true roots. Stems are divided into inflated internodes; budding takes place at nodes. Leaves are long and lanceolate (pointed) with rough or smooth edges. Spikelets are solitary with 8 to 12 flowers, but are rarely seen.
Reproduction Characteristics
Reproduces vegetatively via budding of root rhizomes and runners. Rarely flowers (for decades). Flowering usually signifies death of the plant.
Growth Characteristics
Bamboo, once established, is very aggressive in both its rate of growth as well as the sprouting of new stems. It rapidly spreads in all directions from the location of establishment. Can reach 30 feet in height.
Ecological, Economic, or Social Impact
Infestations of bamboo displace native vegetation, alter habitat, and upset food chains. For streams, bamboo leaf litter alters stream food webs starting with litter-feeding stream invertebrates. It is also known to attract roaches in urban areas.
Control
For small infestations, regularly cut back the bamboo, which eventually kills rhizomes by exhausting stored energy. An enclosing barrier three feet deep prevents spread. Use foliar chemical treatment (2% solution of glyphosate) for larger infestations.

Native Species Alternatives
Below is a list of alternative plants that are native to the area:
  • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis var. canadensis)
  • Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera)
  • Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)
This species belongs to the following lists:
Images
To view a larger version of an image, click on the thumbnail.
Base stems and leaf litter of a cluster of golden bamboo. Photo courtesy of James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 0001072.
Base stems and leaf litter of a cluster of golden bamboo. Photo courtesy of James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 0001072.
New sprout of golden bamboo in September. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237036.
New sprout of golden bamboo in September. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237036.
Close up of stem of golden bamboo. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237037.
Close up of stem of golden bamboo. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237037.
Stems of golden bamboo. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237038.
Stems of golden bamboo. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237038.
Infestation of golden bamboo along a right-of-way. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237039.
Infestation of golden bamboo along a right-of-way. Photo courtesy of Chuck Bargeron, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1237039.
New infestation of golden bamboo along a roadside. Photo courtesy of Chris Evans, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1380174.
New infestation of golden bamboo along a roadside. Photo courtesy of Chris Evans, The University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 1380174.
Close-up of golden bamboo plant in July. Photo courtesy of James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 2307217.
Close-up of golden bamboo plant in July. Photo courtesy of James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org; Image Number 2307217.
Page Updated/Reviewed: 07/14/2010 8:32 AM
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