There are over 1,000 species of bamboo in the world, most native to China and Southeast Asia. Bamboo grows so fast that writers like Brian Merchant from Planet Green consider it one of the most promising renewable resources.
Size Depends on Species
Bamboo grows faster than any other woody plant, but the rate of growth and final size of the plant depends on species and area of residence. Some bamboo plants mature in four or five years, while others take a decade to reach full height, growing vigorously every day. Heights range from a few inches to over 100 feet.
The Biggest Bamboo
Japan recorded a bamboo plant that grew approximately 46 inches in 24 hours. Brian Merchant from Planet Green reports that some bamboo species can regularly grow 2 inches an hour and up to 24 inches a day. For the gardener, most bamboos classified as running bamboos (versus clumping bamboos) are the aggressively growing varieties to avoid.
Using Bamboo's Growth Potential
Because bamboo can grow so rapidly and be used for so many purposes--including flooring, paper, tools, food and even parts of laptops--it has potential to be one of the most useful renewable resources. However, issues surrounding pesticides, clear cutting and fair trade are yet to be fully addressed.