Synonyms: Arundo hexandra, Bambos stricta, Bambusa glomerate, Bambusa stricta.
Common Name: Male bamboo, Solid bamboo, Calcutta bamboo. Hard bamboo, Iron bamboo, Stone bamboo.
Local Name: Bans (बांस)
Bans is a tall, perennial, clump-forming, evergreen plant of Western Himalayas. It is native to India. Bans is commonly seen growing near habitations, in hill slopes, ravines, alluvial plains and drier open deciduous forests. It requires well-drained localities with sandy loam soil. Bans can grow in full sun and in light shade up to an altitude of 1000m. Its culms are hollow when growing under humid conditions, but nearly solid under dry conditions
Young shoots of bans, which usually arise in the rainy season are edible. These are pickled and can be cooked into vegetable or vegetable curry. Bans is a multipurpose plant for the local people of Western Himalayas. Its culms are used for many purposes, such as for building material, house frames, furniture, mats, baskets, sticks, agricultural implements, rafts, tent poles, concrete reinforcement, walls, scaffolding, fences, poles for construction, ladders, paper and other household items. Leaves of bans are also used as forage.
Local people harvest bans from wild habitat for their local use of food, fodder and material.
Plant is perennial, arborescent, up to 17m tall.
Culms erect or bent: thick-walled or solid, glaucous when young, turning dull green or yellowish, glabrous; internodes 30-45 cm long; joints swollen, basal ones often with aerial roots. bearing stiff, shining, papery, deciduous stem- sheaths; branches clustered. Branches arising from nearly all nodes (including the lower ones), usually several at each node, Young shoot brownish-green with very thick dark brown hairs and short apex.
Leaves narrowly lanceolate, 2.5-25 cm long, finely pointed; sheaths hairy, mouth bristly.
Spikelet spinous, 2-3 flowered, crowded in large, globose, sessile heads along the branches of a panicle.
Glumes hairy near the tip. Flowering glumes spine –tipped.
Edible shoots of bans can be harvested only during rainy season, when new growth arises. For ensuring sustainable harvesting, some shoots should be left as such on parent plant and culms (timber) should be harvested only during non rainy months. Current year culms should not be cut.
Tender shoots buds of bans are made into pickle. These are also cooked as vegetable or vegetable curry.
Vegetable or Vegetable curry
Chopped tender shoots, 1 kg; mustard oil, 5-6 table spoons; coriander powder, 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder,1 tea spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon; turmeric powder, 1; table spoon. red chillies, 2-4; medium sized chopped onion, 1; chopped garlic cloves, 4-5; green coriander leaves (chopped), half cup amount; ginger paste, 1/2 table spoon; tomato puree, 2 cup amount.
If vegetable curry is to be prepared then add curd, 3-4 cup amount, besan, 1table spoon; branded garam masala,1 tea spoon;salt, according to taste.
Remove skin of tender shoots then cut these into small pieces of long cuboid shape. Fry these chopped slices for 10 to 15 minutes. Then in hot mustard oil add coriander powder, fenugreek powder, red chillies and cumin seed in sequence, Mix these well and then add paste of onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder and tomato puree. Sauté this mixture on slow flame for 5 minutes. Then add fried shoots and mix properly. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes before serving. For preparing curry, add 3 to 4 cup amount curd mixed with 2 table spoon besan. After adding this curd cook for another 10 to 15 minutes and thenadd garam masala powder and garnish with chopped green coriander leaves. Now your bans vegetable curryis ready to serve.
Bans shoot pickle:
Chopped shoot buds, 1 kg; mustard oil, 7-9 table spoons; fenugreek powder, 2 table spoon; cumin seed, 2 table spoon; turmeric powder, 1; table spoon. red chillies, 8-12. mustard (rai ) powder, 4 table spoon and salt, according to taste. .
For preparing pickle, shallow fry shoot slices in hot mustered oil and add roasted seed powder of fenugreek, cumin and red chillies into these fried shoot slices. Then add to this turmeric powder, mustard (rai ) and salt, according to taste. Keep this mixture in a ceramic jar for one month. During this period, the bans pieces will develop a sour taste and will be ready to eat.
Bans is very famous plant of Western Himalaya due to its multifarious uses for the local people. Except source of food its leaves are fed to livestock. Decoction of leaves and nodes and silicious matter is used in the traditional medicine. Its culms are used for many purposes, such as for building material, house frames, furniture, mats, baskets, sticks, agricultural implements, rafts, tent poles, concrete reinforcement, walls, scaffolding, fences, poles for construction, ladders and paper etc.
Bans a source of income:
Bans culms are sold by locals at the cost of Rs 100 to 200 per culm. These are generally purchased by poor people for preparing baskets and other agricultural or household items. These household items and agricultural equipment are then sold by them by visiting door to door in surrounding villages or local market. Thus, bans is source of income for poor or locals who have clamps of bans in their private land.