Chusquea culeou

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Chusquea culeou
Chusquea culeou-colehual.JPG
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chusquea
C. culeou
Binomial name
Chusquea culeou
Mapuches using C. culeou as spear during a malon raid Johann Moritz Rugendas-el rapto.jpg
Mapuches using C. culeou as spear during a malón raid

Chusquea culeou, the Chilean bamboo, [1] (Spanish : caña coligüe or colihue) is a species of flowering plant in the grass family Poaceae. An evergreen bamboo native to South America, unlike most species within the genus Chusquea , it is frost-tolerant and thus widely cultivated in temperate regions.



It is native to the Valdivian rainforests, humid temperate forests of Chile and southwestern Argentina. Chusquea culeou is a keystone species which can control patterns of forest dynamics by impeding regeneration of tree species. [2]


Growing to 8 m (26 ft) tall by 1.5 m (4.9 ft) broad, Chusquea culeou forms a substantial clump of greenery. It has hairy lanceolate leaves with a spine on their end, and its flower is a whisk of light brown colour. The plant also produces a caryopsis fruit. Blooming occurs after variable periods, that could last 60 years. After blooming and releasing its seeds, the plant dies. The cane is straight, up to 6 m (20 ft) in height, and was used by the Aboriginals for the pole of their spears. They are still used by the Mapuche people for a musical instrument known as trutruca .

A feature of this Chusquea is that the stems are solid, unlike most bamboos.


Chusquea culeou is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit [1] (confirmed 2017). [3]

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  1. 1 2 "RHS Plantfinder - Chusquea culeou" . Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. Veblen, TT. 1982. Growth patterns of Chusquea bamboos in the understory of Chilean Nothofagus forests and their influences in forest dynamics. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 109, No. 4, pp. 474 487
  3. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 20. Retrieved 24 January 2018.