Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Phyllostachys nigra (Lodd. ex Lindl.) Munro

Fully hardy, clump-forming bamboo with arching, slender green canes that turn black in their second or third year. To 5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Phyllostachys nigra is not specifically distinct from P. Henonis, Mitf., P. Castillonis, Mitf., and P. boryana, Mitf.  They are forms - mainly colour varieties - of a species which is very uniform in its flowers and inflorescences.  In this respect it approaches so closely P. Faurei, Hack., a native of Japan, that the only tangible differences between them are in the singularly angular and perfectly solid stems of P. Faurei.  It has been remarked by Japanese botanists that most of the bamboos of Japan flower very rarely, and “flowering periods” of thirty or sixty years have been ascribed to them.

According to Loudon (Hort. Brit. p. 124), this Bamboo was introduced into England by C. Loddiges in 1825.  It appears in Loddiges’ “Catalogue of Plants” for 1826, among the stove plants as Bambusa nigra, but nothing is said about the origin.  Lindley, in “Penny Cyclopedia,” vol. iii. (1835), p.357, gives the neighbourhood of Canton as its home, adding that the beautiful slender stems are cut for the handles of parasols, walking-sticks, &c.  It is impossible to trace the introduction of P. nigra into England to any definite collector.  In 1835, a specimen of it was growing in the garden of the London Horticultural Society, and as it had stood several winters unprotected, Lindley suggested that it might be acclimatized in the south-west of England, and on the west coast of Ireland; nevertheless, it remained all but unnoticed in this country for a long time afterwards.  Although P. nigra has been in cultivation in France for about sixty years, and the flowering of other bamboos has generally been recorded in horticultural journals and the publications of the Société d’Acclimation of Paris, I have not been able to find a single reference to the flowering of P. nigra until quite recently.’  [BM t.7994/1905].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.128/1845].  A large clump of this plant, probably the original planting, survives in the Old Orchard, now part of the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute.


Published Feb 26, 2009 - 04:13 PM | Last updated Mar 30, 2010 - 01:40 PM

Figured is a bamboo with detail of leaves and flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.7994, 1905.

Phyllostachys nigra (Lodd. ex Lindl.) Munro | BM t.7994/1905 | BHL

Family Poaceae
Region of origin


  • Bambusa nigra Lodd. ex Lindl.
Common Name

Black bamboo, Kuro-chiku

Name in the Camden Park Record


Bambusa nigra - black bamboo


Confidence level high