Black Bamboo

Phyllostachys nigra

Family: Poaceae

Type of weed:


Habit: Tall evergreen grass with an upright stems growing 3-7 m tall. Plants spread rapidly forming loose clumps via creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) that produce upright stems (i.e. canes) from their joints (i.e. nodes).

Stems: Has blackish or purplish-black coloured mature stems that are usually 1-4 cm thick. These stems have a distinctive groove running lengthwise from above where the side branches are produced.

Leaves: The leaf sheaths are mostly hairless, except near their margins. Where the leaf sheath meets the leaf blade there is a tiny membranous structure topped with hairs. The leaf blades (6-12 cm long and 9-15 mm wide) are oblong or elongated in shape, have entire margins, and are mostly hairless.

Flowers and fruits: Flowers and seeds are rarely, if ever produced.


Running bamboos spread by means of long underground stems which send up multiple shoots. Bamboo is often spread in dumped garden waste. It also spreads laterally from deliberate garden plantings into nearby bushland areas.

Impact on bushland

An invasive weed of riparian vegetation, disturbed sires, waste areas, roadsides, gardens and urban bushland.

Large dense clumps of the Bamboo spread out to form a forest of tall woody grass stems that suppress all other vegetation and block water flows. Bamboo can cover large areas in favourable conditions.

Alternative planting

Native plants

Screening shrubs and small trees such as Hakea’s, Bottlebrush, Wattles and Tea Trees.

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


Specific control tips for this weed


Hand Removal: Very small amounts can be dug up by complete removal of rhizomesĀ . This is not appropriate for large areas.

Cut and Paint method: Cut and paint every stem with herbicide (within 20 seconds). Then wait for leaves on regrowth and treat (before it reaches 1/2 m high) by spraying.

Note: Due to growing the habit of Bamboo, followup treatments are essential.