Melocanna Baccifera

  • IASbaba
  • November 21, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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Context: Melocanna Baccifera, a tropical bamboo species, has long intrigued researchers for its association with the occurrence of ‘bamboo death,’ ‘rat floods’ and famines in northeast India.

About Melocanna Baccifera:

  • Melocanna Baccifera is an evergreen bamboo with an elongated rhizome that produces single culms arising at a distance of about 60 cm apart and reaching a height of 10 – 20 metres.
  • The thin-walled culms have a diameter of 50 – 90mm, with internodes 30 – 60cm long. It is an aggressive bamboo, easily occupying large open areas, due to its vigorous long rhizomes and, when fruiting, due to its easily germinating fruits.
  • One of the most useful bamboos within its native range, especially in Bangladesh, it provides edible shoots, medicine and culms that have a wide range of uses.
  • The plant is also grown as an ornamental purposes.

Cultivation of Melocanna Baccifera:

  • A plant of the moist tropics. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 20 – 33°c, though it can tolerate 15 – 38°c.
  • It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 – 3,000mm, tolerating 600 – 4,400mm.
  • Succeeds in moist soils, preferring a fertile medium to heavy soil.
  • Young shoots are harvested in the rainy season. Culms are considered mature when 2 years old.
  • The average green culm yield is estimated at 12,000 culms/ha per 3 years, weighing about 84 tonnes.
  • Bamboos have an interesting method of growth. Each plant produces a number of new stems annually – these stems grow to their maximum height in their first year of growth, subsequent growth in the stem being limited to the production of new side branches and leaves.
  • Bamboos in general are usually monocarpic, living for many years before flowering, then flowering and seeding profusely for a period of 1 – 3 years before usually dying.
  • The plant flowers gregariously, with a flowering cycle of 30 – 45 years. In the season before flowering no new shoots are produced. Flowering may continue for about 10 years over a tract that is sometimes called a flowering wave.

Uses of Melocanna Baccifera:

Edible Uses:

  • Young shoots – cooked
  • The shoots are also sliced and dried in the sun for preservation
  • The remarkable large fruits are fleshy and edible
  • They are used as a famine food
  • The leaves may be used in brewing liquor

Medicinal Uses:

  • Tabashir, which is a siliceous concretion found in the culms of the bamboo stem, can be collected from the culms.
  • It is used as a tonic in treating respiratory diseases.

Other Uses:

  • The culms are widely used in house building; to make woven wares such as baskets, mats, handicrafts, wall plates, screens and hats; and for domestic utensils
  • The culms are an important source of superior paper pulp

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1)  Among the following crops, which one is the most important anthropogenic source of both methane and nitrous oxide ?  (2022)

  1. Cotton
  2. Rice
  3. Sugarcane
  4. Wheat

Q.2) With reference to “Gucchi” sometimes mentioned in the news, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a fungus.
  2. It grows in some Himalayan Forest areas.
  3. It is commercially cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of north-eastern India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (2022)

  1. 1 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 2 and 3


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