Explained: Why is bamboo called grass and is it legal to transport it?

Bamboo file photo. (Image source: Unsplash)

New Delhi: Like all grasses, bamboo is a colonial plant and belongs to the family Bambusoideae, a subfamily of the grass family Poaceae. It generates new shoots and increases root mass by using the energy of already existing bamboo. The same process is used by new plants for their development and this is how bamboo reproduces.

Some bamboo species also produce flowers and seeds, which eventually aid in reproduction as in many other plants. However, this is not the main method of propagation of bamboo plants.

Although several species of bamboo are found throughout the world, the two main types of bamboo colonies are running and clumping.

While running bamboos have long, horizontally spreading roots and are monopods, clumping bamboos are sessile and have shorter roots that stay around their point of origin and do not spread as quickly.

Like all grasses, all species of bamboo, including larger, woodier species such as moso and guado, use the same process for photosynthesis known as C4 carbon fixation, or simply C4.

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Is moving bamboo legal?

Although bamboo falls under the category of grass, it is classified as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, making its harvesting outside forests illegal. In addition, transporting it was also illegal.

As a result of this law, farmers in bamboo-producing states, especially the Northeast, often faced many challenges because they were unable to cut or transport it.

Considering the challenges faced by farmers, the Government of India in 2017 made amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and classified bamboo as a grass, making it legal to cut and transport bamboo plants.

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World Bamboo Day

Bamboo, known as the tallest grass on the planet, grows quickly with almost no care. It is known for its strength, resilience and environmental friendliness, and to raise awareness about the many benefits of this versatile and sustainable resource, people around the world celebrate September 18 as World Bamboo Day. In addition to promoting awareness of the multiple uses of bamboo, this day provides a platform to promote its role in sustainable development, environmental conservation, poverty reduction, and cultural preservation. On this special day, let us shed light on why bamboo is a grass and not a tree.

    (tags for translation) World Bamboo Day 

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