Bamboo is a plant that is vital to the survival of hill tribe people in northern Thailand. They use if for everything from building houses, to making tools, to food. Let’s just say that bamboo is to villagers how duct tape is to Americans; it can be used for anything!
Here are 7 amazing facts about how bamboo really is a magical plant:
1. Used in the first light bulbs- Thomas Edison’s light bulb used a carbonized bamboo filament, which allowed his light bulb to last 1200 hours.
2. Fastest growing plant in the world- Bamboo is actually considered a grass, and is the fastest growing plant on earth. The Guinness Book of World Records recorded a growth rate that reached up to 35 inches per day. Most bamboo can reach full maturity in 3 to 5 years. It grows on every continent except Antarctica.
3. Carbon fixation- Bamboo produces 30% more oxygen than trees. This greatly helps with the balancing of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. An acre of bamboo can fix about 25 metric tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year.
4. Can be used as a steel substitute- During World War II, bamboo was used as reinforcement for concrete instead of steel. Because of its light weight, strength, and flexibility, it can be used to substitute almost any building material.
5. Survived the atomic bomb- After the blast of 1945 in Hiroshima, bamboo was the first plant to re-sprout. It has also survived through natural disasters such as Hurricane Ivan and Katrina.
6. No chemicals needed- Because bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, no pesticides or fertilizers are needed to grow.
7. Provides housing to 15% of the people in the world- Bamboo is the main building material for more than 1 billion people around the world. Twenty-five percent of the worlds population rely on bamboo to get through their daily lives.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee