The global distribution of bamboos

Bamboos are one of the most economically important plant groups globally, but this worldwide trade creates risks of invasions.

The global exchange of (A) introduced and (B) invasive bamboos relative to their native range.
The global exchange of (A) introduced and (B) invasive bamboos relative to their native range. The thickness of internal lines connecting regions corresponds to diversity (number) of species moved. The outer inset bar graph shows the total count of species in that region (by status), and the inner bar graph represents the flow to and from that region. Regions are colour coded and correspond to label names. See Canavan et al. (2016) for full details.

In a recent review published in AoB PLANTS, Canavan et al. identified 1662 species of bamboo, of which almost a seventh (232) have been introduced outside their native range, with Asiatic and larger species preferred. Only 12 species were found to have become invasive. However, invasiveness was found to be more a function of human usage than of specific species traits, suggesting the recent upsurge in bamboo cultivation could pose future invasion risks.


Canavan, S., Richardson, D. M., Visser, V., Roux, J. J. L., Vorontsova, M. S., & Wilson, J. R. U. (2016). The global distribution of bamboos: assessing correlates of introduction and invasion. AoB Plants, plw078.

About the author


AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.