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Old 2021-05-28, 23:17   #91
Dr Sardonicus
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Feb 2017

2·47·53 Posts

I have a vague recollection from around 1980 of seeing a story on the national news about bamboo and the giant panda. The bamboo in one region in Sichuan Province where the giant panda lives was flowering. This was of huge significance for the pandas.

Some species of bamboo, including some of the staple foods of the giant panda, like arrow bamboo Fargesia spathacea, and blue fountain bamboo Fargesia nitida, grow for decades, undergo synchronous flowering over entire regions if not the whole world, and then the plants all die. (The news report said the bamboo had last flowered there 60 years previously IIRC). The mass flowering event mentioned on that long-ago news report led to the starvation of hundreds of giant pandas.

I've also heard of a species in India that flowers synchronously every 48 years. The fruits provide a food bonanza for the local rodent populations, whose numbers explode, resulting in severe crop damage in the area.
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