For those who live in southern areas of the USA, but not far south enough to grow the frost-sensitive Bambusa vulgaris Wamin, this may be your solution!
Bambusa vulgaris Wamin (Dwarf Buddha's Belly Bamboo), with its distinctively compressed and swollen internodes, has always tempted growers who experience the occasional freeze each year. Their only option was to grow the more cold-hardy Bambusa ventricosa (Buddha's Belly), which only produces reliable bellied culms under stress.
This new introduction to the USA, collected by us in Hua'an, China in November/2012, will be frost-tolerant AND will produce consistently bellied culms.
As of March/2014, the species has not yet been released to us from USDA quarantine (the 2013 US government shutdown is largely to blame for the release delay).
UPDATE: It was released to us in July/2014 and will be test grown at Tropical Bamboo Nursery for at least a year - availability date will be determined after we initiate propagation. Our best guess for availability is late 2017.
The common name Cool Buddha was given primarily to identify this species as appropriate for cooler climate zones.
Will grow to around 18' tall with 2.5" diameter culms in Florida. Minimum temp. 15 degrees F. Min USDA zone: 8b. Click to find your zone.