Where Does It Come From? The Origins of Bamboo

Where Does It Come From? The Origins of Bamboo

An evergreen, perennial, flowering grass, bamboo is known to be hundreds of centuries old and one of the most important plants in the world. Used throughout human history for a variety of products, bamboo has been a prime source of both food and life sustaining items.

“The species of bamboo that we know today evolved from prehistoric grasses between thirty and forty million years ago, long after the extinction of the dinosaurs. It then became the major food source for herbivorous animals, eventually becoming a food source for the modern human being as well.”

Bamboo Grove

The word “bamboo” is believed to come from the Malay word “Mambu” or “Bambu,” depending on who you ask (Malay is the national language of Malaysia and Indonesia). In the late 16th century the Dutch named it “Bamboes” after which it got its Neo-Latin name “Bambusa“. (source

Bamboo is so connected to life that several Asian cultures even have stories and ancient beliefs of humanity emerging from bamboo.

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Map of the “bamboo belt”; the growing around the world where bamboo thrives (source)

Found growing natively on five continents, bamboo’s earliest known uses were for chopsticks and other eating utensils while also being an integral part of the human diet. According to China Today, the oldest archaeological finds of bamboo articles in China were unearthed from the remains of a primitive society that existed some 7,000 years ago in what is now Hemudu, Yuyao County, Zhejiang Province. In the Neolithic time, ancient Chinese people were using it for arrow making, construction, weaving, books, and paper. 

“Archeologists working in the ruins of the Neolithic village of Banpo near Xi’an, China in the Shaanxi province unearthed archives written on bamboo slips that date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 A.D.).”

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Flash forward several thousand years: as a hardy, renewable evergreen, bamboo has stood the test of time as a key crop in many countries and cultures. As strong and flexible as it is renewable, the uses of bamboo have been as diverse as the thousands of species of bamboo that exist.

We are proud to be one of the leading furniture manufacturers in the world to be making beautiful, high-quality pieces out of this ancient super plant that is as robust as it is beautiful. We know why so many have loved it for so long and believe it is not just an important part of our world’s history, but will also be important for our future.

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