Any of the tall, treelike grasses, found in tropical and subtropical to mild temperate regions, that make up the subfamily Bambusoideae, family Poaceae. Bamboos are giant, fast-growing grasses with woody stems. A few species of the genus Arundinaria are native to the southern U.S., where they form dense canebrakes along riverbanks and in marshy areas. The woody, hollow, aerial stems grow in branching clusters from a thick rhizome, often forming a dense undergrowth that excludes other plants. All parts of the bamboo are used, for purposes including food, livestock fodder, fine-quality paper, construction materials, and medicines. Bamboos also have ornamental use in landscape gardens.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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