The bamboo does not look much like the grass that grows in the fields, yet it belongs to the grass family and is a kind of grass. There are more than two hundred kinds of these giant grasses; some are small, only two or four feet high; many grow to a height of twenty or thirty feet, and the largest even to a hundred feet. They are all beautiful plants, their tall woody stems being covered with long and bright-green leaves. Bamboos are found in Africa and America but they are most common in India, China, and Japan.
Bamboo is a very useful plant. The long stems are very strong and are used as supports of platforms for workmen when building houses, as shafts for carts, and, bound with iron, as lathis or sticks, used for fighting.
Bamboo stems, being partly hollow, but divided into sections by solid rings, called “nodes” or knots, can be made, when cut to the proper length, into buckets, pipes, and cups.
Of the thinner stems, chairs, tables, stools, book-cases, screens, and other useful things are made. This bamboo furniture is light and cheap and quite pretty.
The stems are also split into thin strips, and these are fastened together to make “chicks”, or blinds for windows and doors, to, keep out the flies and the glare of the sun.
Horses are very fond of the young, tender shoots of bamboo leaves; and in West Indies, these are eaten, by people as a vegetable.
Lastly, the fine white paper used to be made from the bamboo hundreds of years ago by the Chinese. But the art seems to have been lost. Paper is still made from the bamboo, but it is coarse and of a brown colour.
Thus the bamboo serves many uses.