Removing the human spine-like rhysomal runners of a decades-old planting of running bamboo from a backyard can lead to much consternation and extraction efforts. For Houstonians who have had this experience, bamboo is considered a wildly problematic plant. They are half right.
Bamboo, the fast growing plant on the planet, and the largest grass genera, comes in two major catergories: clumping and running. For those who prefer resting under dense shade to engaging in a massive, potentially back-breaking project, buying from the clumping category is the way to go.
Nearly all species of bamboo have hollow stems – not trunks, because bamboo is a grass, not a tree – divided into sections. A stem can be up to a foot in diameter. Each section of stem is divided by a node, and each of the nodes has one side bud, although few of these buds develop into branches. This makes bamboo one of the few grasses that have a branch structure.
If you use a small toothed saw and cut through a dried bamboo stalk right below the node, then get some sandpaper and smooth the top and bottom and any other rough parts, you can basically create your very own bamboo cup. Just make sure the top feels comfortable to your lips and the bottom is flat enough to sit on a table.
Wash with dish soap, fill with your favorite beverage, sip, and enjoy. Then repeat. Treating your cup with mineral oil should help it last drink after drink after…