Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chusquea couleou in bloom!

Chusquea couleou in my garden last year

Chusquea couleou behind blooming rhododendron in my garden now

Seeds of blooming Chusquea couleou
     I have a very large Chusquea couleou in the middle of my garden.  Chuquea couleou, for those who don't know, is a clumping bamboo from Chile.  I got this particular specimen many years ago--probably 15-- from a bamboo nursery north of San Francisco called Bamboo Sourcery.  My friend Diane and I were on a plantaholic's trip to that holy grail of plant lovers--the San Francisco area, and we passed this bamboo nursery on the way to visit the legendary Western Hills nursery (sadly now defunct, I believe).  At Bamboo Sourcery we were shown around by Jesus, who was in charge of the nursery since the owner had either recently died or was in poor health, I don't remember which.  He showed us a wonderful specimen of Chusquea couleou, which, if I remember correctly, was called 'Chilean Straight'.  He also indicated that Bamboo Sourcery had several different clones of Chusquea couleou.  At the time this bamboo was very rare in commerce here and it was exciting to see all these forms of chusquea.
     Anyway, once we got back home from that trip, I began emailing Jesus to order some chusqueas from Bamboo Sourcery.  As I told my friend Diane, I had been getting emails from Jesus! Soon I had three little Chusquea couleou plants sent to me by Bamboo sourcery in 1 gal. containers.  These little plants each cost at least $100.00.  One of those became the plant you see in the pictures above.
     As you can see from the third picture, this plant is flowering now.  I also notice that the Bamboo Sourcery website seems to indicate that Chusquea couleou 'Chilean Straight' is flowereing so that would confirm that my plant is indeed 'Chilean Straight'.
     I should note that some people have the impression that all bamboo of one kind flowers all over the world at the same time.  That is not precisely the case.  It may be that all bamboo that are clones of each other flower at the same time, but if the bamboo is from a different seed source, it will not necessarily flower when another bamboo of that species flowers.  That has certainly been my experience with chusqueas.  About 10 years ago I had another Chusquea couleou flower--another one of the plants Jesus sent me.  It was a different clone from 'Chilean Straight'.  No other chusquea in my garden flowered at that time, even though I had several others.  I have several seedlings of that mother plant which are mature specimens now and they are not flowering. 
     My other Chusquea couleou which flowered died after flowering, so it may be that this one will die also.  What a bummer!  This was such a beautiful plant right in the center of the garden.  The one consoling aspect of this is that the seed will readily germinate and I should have mass quantities of baby chusqueas to play with soon. 


  1. Incredible! your Chusquea is beautiful!!! I love love love your garden!

  2. Beautiful!!! Never seen anything like this. How did the seeding go?
    I would love to have some of these in my yard. Which at the moment is pretty sad. I just bought the place and its totally barren down to what is suppose to be grass, is dirt and weeds.
    These would be so pretty in the yard.
    If you have any that you could sell let me know. Looking at them makes you smile.
    Thanks for sharing them