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Bamboo has a higher specific compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete and a specific tensile strength that rivals steel.
Bamboos have long been considered the most primitive grasses, mostly because of the presence of bracteate, indeterminate inflorescences, "pseudospikelets", and flowers with three lodicules, six stamens, and three stigmata.
Recently, some attempts have been made to grow bamboo on a commercial basis in the Great Lakes region of east-central Africa, especially in Rwanda.
The two general patterns for the growth of bamboo are "clumping" (sympodial) and "running" (monopodial).
This brief life means culms are ready for harvest and suitable for use in construction within about three to seven years.
Anji County of China, known as the "Town of Bamboo", provides the optimal climate and soil conditions to grow, harvest, and process some of the most valued bamboo poles available worldwide.
Unlike all trees, individual bamboo culms emerge from the ground at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season of three to four months.
Clumping bamboo species tend to spread slowly, as the growth pattern of the rhizomes is to simply expand the root mass gradually, similar to ornamental grasses.
"Running" bamboos, though, need to be controlled during cultivation because of their potential for aggressive behavior.