Tortoise Shell Bamboo 'Heterocycla'

Phyllostachys edulis

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phyllostachys (fy-lo-STAK-iss) (Info)
Species: edulis (ED-yew-liss) (Info)
Cultivar: Heterocycla
Synonym:Phyllostachys edulis var. heterocycla
Synonym:Phyllostachys heterocycla


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage

Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Windsor, California

Mukilteo, Washington

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 12, 2004, don7t1 from Abbeville, LA wrote:

A few years ago I imported from mainland China several plants of Tortoise Shell Bamboo. I have divided them several times and as yet they are growing BUT have NOT produced the familiar "tortoiseshell' shape at the base of the culm. Each imported plant had attached to the rhizome a "tortoiseshell" cut off culm --so I know I got the correct plants. Being a form of MOSO -growth is very good here in zone 9


On May 19, 2004, dbinnix from Garden Grove, CA wrote:

I do not actually have this plant but I am familiar with it, and wanted to give some information on it. This is the famous "Tortoise Shell Bamboo" were the internodes are longer on one side than the other and gives it the apperance of a Tortoise Shell. This plant is extremely rare if anyone has one you have a real gem. It should be easy to grow as it is a Phyllostachys (Runner) and I would be happy to let it run as much as possible. This plant can also take some cold down to 0F so it has a wider range of areas it would do well in. The pictures given are outside the US I don't know if there are any plants in the US it came up for sale only 1 time that I know of and that was at a rare plant auction.