Sasa kurilensis - (Rupr.)Makino.&Shib.
Common Name Chishima Zasa
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forms compact clumps in thickets on high mountain slopes, C. and N. Japan[74, 58].
Range E. Asia - Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade

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Sasa kurilensis Chishima Zasa

Sasa kurilensis Chishima Zasa
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Sasa kurilensis is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 4 m (13ft 1in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Arundinaria kurilensis. Bambusa kurilensis. Pseudosasa kurilensis.

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked[177]. They are so popular in Japan that a license is required in order to collect them[183]. Seed - used as a cereal[177]. The seed is only produced at intervals of many years.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


A potential cure for cancer has been discovered in the leaf[195].


Other Uses
Soil stabilization;  Wood.

The plant has rampant roots and this can be utilized in soil stabilization schemes[195]. The canes are used for making particle boards such as hardboard[195]. The fibre dimensions mean that it is more suitable for thick paper and fibreboard than for thin papers[195]. Yields in Japan are around 45 tonnes per hectare though the cost of gathering and bundling the canes makes economic use problematic[195]. The canes are also used as plant supports etc.
Cultivation details
Prefers a damp humus rich soil in partial shade[200]. A very hardy species, it grows wild further north than any other bamboo, succeeding even in areas with heavy snow[195]. It tolerates temperatures down to about -20°c[200]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Plants only flower at intervals of many years. When they do come into flower most of the plants energies are directed into producing seed and consequently the plant is severely weakened. They sometimes die after flowering, but if left alone they will usually recover though they will look very poorly for a few years. If fed with artificial NPK fertilizers at this time the plants are more likely to die[122]. A polymorphic species[200]. There is at least one named form, selected for its ornamental value[200]. The rootstock can be rampant and invasive[200], it is said to hamper the regeneration of forests in its native habitat[195].
Seed - if possible, surface sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20°c. Stored seed is best sown as soon as it is received. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 - 6 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out, which could be a few years. Plants only flower at intervals of several years and so seed is rarely available. Division in late spring as new growth commences. Take large divisions, trying to cause as little root disturbance to the main clump as possible. Grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse in pots of a high fertility sandy medium. Mist the foliage regularly until plants are established. Plant them out into their permanent positions when a good root system has developed, which can take a year or more[200]. Divisions of less than 5 - 6 culms rarely succeed[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Camellia sasanquaCamellia, Sasanqua camellia31
Pseudosasa amabilisTonkin Bamboo00
Pseudosasa japonicaMetake - Bamboo21
Sasa cernua 10
Sasa chimakisasa 10
Sasa nipponicaMiyako-Zasa40
Sasa palmataBroadleaf Bamboo, Bamboo00
Sasa senanensis 20
Sasa veitchiiKuma-Zasa, Kuma bamboo grass10
Sasaella ramosaAzuma-Zasa00
Sasamorpha borealis 10
Shibataea kumasasaBamboo, Okame Zasa00


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Readers comment
BrianB   Fri Jan 25 2008
It would appear if you want to eat this you need to buy the larger type not the dwarf one The Dwarf form is about 2 - 3 mm across the stem growing around 3 ft The eating type is around 6 ft or more, still small for a bamboo Much of this type of bamboo sold is the smaller type for short ground cover Brian B
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Subject : Sasa kurilensis  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
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