Bambuseae is a botanical tribe belonging to the subfamily Bambusoideae, and therefore to the grasses (family Poaceae). This subfamily includes what is popularly known as bamboo, characterised by its woody culm (cane). Many species reach a large size, forming true forests.
Bambuseae contains genera from Asia, America, Africa and Oceania. Only Europe (and Antarctica) are excluded. Although the taxonomy of the subfamily Bambusoideae is under discussion, in addition to the tribe Bambuseae, which includes tropical woody bamboos, it includes the tribe Arundinarieae, the woody bamboos of temperate climates, and Olyreae, a tribe of herbaceous culms.
The name bamboo seems to derive from a Malay onomatopoeia, which may have been brought to the West by the Portuguese from the 15th century onwards.
There are numerous species of commercial interest. It is a building material for many tropical cultures because of its high strength and flexibility, as well as its rapid growth. It is surprising that this "vegetable steel" has the same genetic structure as a grass. Equally surprising is often their flowering, which can be described as "unusual, in many species: in cycles varying from a few years to 120, and all flowering at the same time throughout the species' range.
Given the great variability in size of this tribe, the characteristics of Bambusa vulgaris, to which the accompanying plate belongs, have been used to characterise this sheet.