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The demand for bamboo is increasing worldwide and the diversity of uses to which it is put is growing steadily. Increases in demand can be met by increasing the areas of bamboo plantations, but improvements in the quality of raw bamboo can only be met by selection and breeding.
Professor Zhang Guangchu of Guangdong Forestry Research Institute has worked on bamboo hybridization for almost thirty years and has amassed a wide range of skills and experience. She has produced hybrid bamboos that are now being grown commercially in South China. INBAR recently invited her to distil her experiences and make them available to a wider audience and this manual is the result.
Part One Hybridization of bamboos: biological characteristics of flowering and fruiting; forecasting flowering; flower structure and flowering; pollen characteristics; seed setting; causes of flowering; hybridization techniques; selection of hybridizing parents; transplanting breeding stock and establishment of a parent collection; season of hybridization; regulation of flowering period; testing pollen viability; emasculation; selection of flowers; pollination; post-pollination management; seed collection and nursery management; cross-compatibility of parents; appraisal and selection of hybrids; selection of culm-use bamboos; early selection of culm-use hybrids; selection of elite hybrids for shoots; appraisal of bamboo shoot species; selection of hybrids; cytology of parents and hybrids; method of counting chromosomes. Part Two Rapid propagation of elite hybrids: nodal cuttings of seedlings; propagation by secondary branch cuttings; propagation method with secondary branch cuttings; main factors influencing success of secondary branch cuttings; secondary branch-propagule production nursery; propagation by whole culm-cuttings; propagation by culm divisions; rapid multiplication by tissue culture; embryo culture; stem culture; other techniques relevant to both embryo and shoot culture; use of tissue culture techniques in the early selection of seedling hybrids. Part Three Induction of flowering: forcing bamboos to flower; in vitro flowering. Part Four The prospects for bamboo breeding.