( Originally Published 1851 )
The bamboo is a native of the hottest regions of Asia. It is likewise to be found in America, but not in that abundance, with which it flourishes in the old world. It is never brought into this country in sufficient supply for any useful purposes, being rather an object of curiosity than of utility. But in the countries of its production it is one of the most universally useful plants. " There are about fifty varieties," says Mr. Loudon, in his Botanical Dictionary, " of the Arundo bambos, each of the most rapid growth, rising from fifty to eighty feet the first year, and the second perfecting its timber in hardness and elasticity. It grows in stools which are cut every two years. The quantity of timber furnished by an acre of bamboos is immense. Its uses are almost without end. In building it forms al-most entire houses for the lower orders, and enters both into the construction and furniture of those of the higher class. Bridges, boats, masts, rigging, agricultural and other implements and machinery; carts, baskets, ropes, nets, sail-cloth, cups, pitchers, troughs, pipes for conveying water, pumps, fences for gardens and fields, &c. are made of it. Mace-rated in water it forms paper; the leaves are generally put round the tea sent to Europe: the thick inspissated juice is a favorite medicine. It is said to be indestructible by fire, to resist acids, and, by fusion with alkali, to form a transparent permanent glass."