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Bambusa ventricosa - Buddha's Belly Bamboo

English Name: Buddha’s Belly, Swollen Stemmed Bamboo
Synonym: Bambusa tuldoides ‘Ventricosa’
Japanese Name: Butto chiku
Chinese Name: 佛肚竹
Max Height: 55 Feet (17 m)
Max Diameter: 2.25 inches (6 cm)
Minimum Temp: 15°F (-9°C)
Light Exposure: Full sun
Rhizome System: Clumping (pachymorph)

Brief: Bambusa ventricosa most notable for its unique culm growth when containerized in stressed conditions. The culms will bulge and swell, giving it the name “Buddha’s Belly”. It is native to China, and commonly found throughout the United States. It is most commonly used as an ornamental bamboo in gardens.

Physical Appearance: Under normal conditions, Bambusa ventricosa will exhibit normal culm growth behavior, although the The culms range from a green-yellow to green in color. When potted, and lacking water and nutrients, the bamboo becomes a dwarf. The internodes will swell up and bulge out from the middle. This makes Buddha’s belly a popular choice as a potted ornamental bamboo in gardens.

Habitat and Location: Native to southern China, this bamboo is found primarily in tropical regions. In the United States, this bamboo is commonly found in Southern California and Florida.

Common Uses: Not used for commercial or industrial purposes. Commonly used as a ornamental potted plant in gardens or a specialty landscape plant, or bonsai.

Culinary Uses: Little is known about the quality of the shoots for culinary uses. There are several unverified reports of the shoots having value as a food.
Cultivation: Buddha’s Belly Bamboo reportedly grows well in tropical regions, and the temperature should not drop below 15°F (-9°C). Frost can quickly damage the tissue of this bamboo and should be protected from harsh winds and cold temperatures. It is a clumping bamboo and non-invasive. For best results, plant this bamboo in the spring to allow plenty of time for the root system to become established.


Buddha's Belly
Buddha's Belly with Swollen Internodes


Bambusa ventricosa
Buddha's Belly Bamboo in Thailand (Photo: Tony on Flickr)


Buddha's Belly Bamboo
Bambusa ventricosa - Buddha's Belly Bamboo (Photo: Jordi Coll Costa)