Have you ever heard of ‘Kolshi/Ghoti Bash’ a bamboo that is shaped like a pitcher or ever seen ‘Lotha Bash’, a bamboo vine? If you have a doubt whether such bamboos really exist or you are being bamboozled, you should visit the unique bamboo garden of Chittagong city.
Here you will find tiny bamboos that could be planted in small pots as well as ‘Bhudum Bamboos’, the gigantic type available in the country, said Monaem Bhuian, who has been working as a fieldsman in the five acre garden ‘Bambusetum’ at Sholoshor area.
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) started the collection in 1972-1973, and currently has a total of 32 species, Bhuian said.
The other species available in the garden are Borak, Biskata, Mirtinga, Bethua, Konok Kaich, Tetua, Choy, Makla, Farua, Korjoba, Mitinga, Baizza, Shwarna, Hedge, Brandisi, Pencha, Ora, Bembra, Lathi, Kali, Tendu or zigzag, Kala, Muli, Dolu, Thai, Rengun, Tolonda, and Wappi.
Walking through the hilly garden, you will come across a variety of bamboos that would make you amazed. Take for example the ‘Kata (Thorn) Bamboos’ the type that surrounds itself with thorny vines.
“If you plant the type of bamboo around your house you do not have to erect wall or barb wire fence. Your house would become as impregnable as fort”, said Monaem.
Of those Pencha, Lathi, Kali, Lotha, Muli, Dholu and Wappi are found in hilly areas whereas the rest grow in the plain land in the country, said Mahbubur Rahman, Divisional officer of Silviculture Genetics Division of BFRI, adding that it is the only collection in the country that has all bamboo species of the country.
Bamboo is actually a kind of grass that is also the fastest growing plant, said Mahbubur.
He said bamboos have diverse use and could be planted commercially as it could be harvested within five years of planting whereas tree species like Teak (Segun) and Mehogoni need 15 to 25 years.
Besides, the carbon absorption of bamboos is also high hence reducing the carbon from the environment and tackling the climate change threat.
Apart from its use as raw material for furniture and other industries, people living in the hills also eat bamboo sooths, which is a widespread food item especially in China.
However, planting bamboos is not easy as seeds are not available.
It takes 25 to 60 years for a bamboo garden to bloom flowers which naturally produce seeds.
As a result, seeds are very rare. However, BFRI is producing seedlings by an alternative ‘tissue culture’ method in the garden.
“Anyone interested in bamboo plantation could come here to collect bamboo seedlings and all relevant suggestions in creating a bamboo garden”, said Mahbubur.