Bamboo Flowering: a 150-year old natural spectacle

A Common Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) clump, situated along a hiking trail in the Bamboo Cathedral, Chaguaramas, north Trinidad, West Indies was spotted flowering during the onset of the dry season in January 2022. The Common Bamboo is known to live for over 150 years, flower sporadically, then die. Therefore, this observation was a once in a lifetime event for many hikers/mountain riders experiencing the phenomena. Unfortunately, most of the flowers dropped before observations were taken, however, thousands of brown feathery grass-like inflorescence were clearly seen.

Numerous fauna was spotted interacting with the flowers and caryopsis (grains) of the Common Bamboo, particularly, flying insects. Bambusa vulgaris grains are sterile and hence are incapable of producing seedlings. The grains carpet the forest floor and will add to the soil fertility in the area.

Author: Linton Arneaud

Linton Arneaud (PhD. Environmental Biology) is the Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists Club (TTFNC); and the Manager of Trinbago Eco-environment Consulting (TEeC) - a private company that provides expertise in Tropical Forest Ecosystems, Environmental Health Remediation, Sustainable Resources, Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Plant Species, and Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). Linton is also the Botany Group Coordinator for the TTFNC and an avid Naturalist.