In Vitro Flowering Of Bamboo
2 Aug 2022

In Vitro Flowering Of Bamboo

Anjali Singh

Table of Contents

Bamboo is a plant with diverse species, fabulous growth rate, and versatility. The plant is grown vegetatively by using shoots. It can be grown from seeds as well, however, as said, they flower once in 40-50 years and thus produce limited stock of seeds. Also, plants growing from seeds have a slow growth rate.


Have you seen Bamboo flowers in real life?

I never did. And, rarely people have.

This is because most of the Bamboo plants flower only once in their complete life cycle. So, there are some Bamboo species that flower only once every 40 to 50 years and some woody Bamboo that take 100 years for woody bamboo to start flowering.

Yes. You heard right—A HUNDRED YEARS!

In most plants, flowering and seed set constitute their very existence, and are not just normal activities. Thus, the flowering phenomenon in Bamboo makes their breeding difficult, in addition to the unpredictability of flowering and the time period it takes in passing through each generation.

Now you know why bamboos are extensively grown using vegetative methods.

In this article, we will review how tissue culture can be useful in bamboo flowering, why it is important, and understand how different factors can influence flower induction in Bamboo plants.

About Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most important agricultural plants worldwide. And, it’s spread in around 18 million hectare in the world ecosystems, mainly in Asia, Africa and America. It belongs to the subfamily Bambusoideae of the family Poaceae, the grasses.

Bamboo is a plant with diverse species, fabulous growth rate, and versatility. The plant is grown vegetatively by using shoots. It can be grown from seeds as well, however, as said, they flower once in 40-50 years and thus produce limited stock of seeds. Also, plants growing from seeds have a slow growth rate.

Bamboo flowers only once in its lifetime and die after it produces seeds. However, there are certain advantages and disadvantages associated with the flowering behavior of Bamboo.

The presented information in the article is taken from the study of Yuan J-L, Yue J-J, Gu X-P and Lin C-S (2017) Flowering of Woody Bamboo in Tissue Culture Systems. Front. Plant Sci. 8:1589. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01589.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Flowering Behavior of Bamboo

Advantages of Bamboo’s flowering behavior:

  • It is possible to harvest bamboo stalks (building materials) and young shoots (edible vegetables) for a long time, like many years.
  • Rhizome-grown bamboo species can reduce propagation costs
  • Producing an entire plantation with the same genetic background.

Disadvantages of Bamboo’s flowering behavior:

  • Bamboo breeders have difficulty selecting varieties for bamboo breeding due to the difficulty of predicting flowering times and timing the flowering of two bamboo accessions for hybridization.
  • The diversity of genomes is limited and genetic studies are nearly impossible without genetic recombination through cross-pollination.
  • Since plant taxonomy relies heavily on the morphology and anatomy of flowers and fruits, and speciation relies on sexual incompatibility, bamboo classification is often debated and confusing.

In vitro Flowering of Bamboo

Compared to the field, in vitro culture dramatically reduces bamboo flowering time. However, prefer shoot meristems for in vitro culture processes.

Advantages of in vitro flowering

  • Biological stresses and uncontrolled pollination can be reduced when plantlets are incubated in a controlled, sterile environment.
  • As the plantlet is relatively small within the incubation container, plant growth regulators can be added throughout the plantlet.
  • In vitro bamboo flowering can be induced when desired.

Here’s given a review of recent studies on in vitro flowering of bamboo.

Species and Explant type

  • B. arundinacea grew 70% faster than D. brandisii (grew 40%) and D. strictus (did not flower at all) in medium supplemented with 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) and coconut milk.
  • A medium that contained 0.1 mg/L thidiazuron (TDZ) allowed B. edulis to flower, but B. oldhamii only produced multiple shoots.

Species vary in their time to flower in vitro. Here’s the time period taken by some of the plant to flower in vitro:

  • 45 days (B. arundinacea)
  • Under 12 months (B. edulis)
  • 29 months (D. giganteus)
  • 3 years (D. latiflorus)

PGR effect on Bamboo in vitro Flowering


in vitro flowering of bamboo can be induced by cytokinins, as observed in D. latiflorus, B. edulis, B. multiplex, D. brandisii, D. strictus, B. arundinacea, D. giganteus, D. hamiltonii, and B. vulgaris.

Here’re some of the observation from previous studies by scientists:

  • For B. edulis plants, kinetin (Kin) was able to induce flowering with multiple shoots, but not for B. arundinacea or D. latiflorus.
  • Among B. arundinacea plants, flowering occurred only on medium containing BA along with ZT, adenine sulfate (Ads), Kinetin, and isopentyl adenine (2iP), but not on medium only containing one of the cytokinins listed without BA.
  • D. strictus did not flower with 5 mg/L of BA alone, but it could flower and form seeds if you combined it with cytokinin (Ads), auxin (Indole-3-butyric acid, or IBA), and gibberellic acid (GA3).
  • Cytokinins are important for both flower induction and inflorescence proliferation in B. edulis. Different kinds of cytokinins, such as BA, can help in the multiplication of the inflorescences.


The role of auxins in bamboo flowering is the opposite.

  • Naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) inhibited flowering in B. edulis plantlets with multiple shoots in medium containing 0.1 mg/L TDZ
  • The auxin-only medium caused 35% more vegetative shoots to emerge when inflorescences were used as explants. It also induced adventitious roots and increased floret size.

In vitro induced flowering fertility

One common question that arises on the in vitro flowering of plants is if the flowers are fertile. Here’re some instances found in the study:

  • In vitro flowers of B. arundinacea, D. brandisii, B. vulgaris, and D. giganteus provided seeds
  • In vitro D. strictus anthers produced fertile pollen grains, but B. edulis anthers did not
  • In B. edulis, auxin treatments increased anther emergent from glumes but did not result in fertile pollen or seeds.
  • While D. strictus and B. multiplex have good fertility during normal in vivo flowering, Bambusa edulis has not been reported to produce seeds.

Applications of Bamboo in vitro Flowering

In vitro flowering of Bamboo has major applications in research labs. Some of them are given below:

  • Molecular and cell biology studies of bamboo flowers are made possible by in vitro production.
  • The proteomic analysis of bamboo flowers identified 128 differentially expressed proteins in floral meristems

Controllable in vitro bamboo flowering is absolutely necessary in order to facilitate timely and effective bamboo breeding. It’s mainly due to bamboo's unique flowering characteristics (long juvenile phase, mass flowering, and death after flowering).

If there’s anything left about the topic or you want to learn, write us at the email ID given below.


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