Bamboo Groves

Photo of Bamboo Groves

You’ll notice a lot of bamboo growing at the Zoo. While bamboo is not a plant for home landscapes because of its aggressive spreading, it is—if sited correctly and contained—a great plant for the Zoo. Not only does it provide geographically appropriate ambiance to Asian and African habitats, but it is also terrific at screening buildings and service areas, which helps create a better visitor experience. But even more that that, bamboo is a favorite food for many of our animals and, with guidance, our keepers often cut shoots as special treats. It is interesting to note a new bamboo shoot (or culm) emerges from the ground in the spring its full width and rather soft and vulnerable to damage, Amazingly, it will achieve its full height (depending on the species, up to 30’) within a month or two. The culm will then live 2–3 years before it dies and becomes brown and woody. Although most species of bamboo are endemic to warmer regions, several species are hardy in Cincinnati. Although they mostly come through our winters still green and foliated, a bad winter might cause them to lose their leaves and a really bad winter might cause them to die back to their roots. The best places to see bamboo are at the Red Panda Habitat and in Jungle Trails.