Bambusoideae is commonly known as Bamboo

As part of our series of plants commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed, we look at another plant closely related to Japanese knotweed in its looks and/or characteristics.

Bamboo Plant Types

Bamboo has two main plant types, Clumping and Running.

  • Clumping Bamboo grows in big clumps and mainly grows up instead of out. This is the preferred type as you can keep it under control easily and you don’t know have to worry about it spreading.
  • Running Bamboo is the type of plant that spreads really easily and it is the one we have the most calls about. It propagates by the rhizomes spreading and creating new shoots elsewhere. These Rhizomes can spread up to 30 metres before sprouting from the ground.
The stems of the bamboo plant are commonly mistaken for those of the Japanese Knotweed plant
The stems of the bamboo plant are commonly mistaken for those of the Japanese Knotweed plant

Similarities to Bamboo

Bamboos is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, so it’s unsurprising that it’s often confused with the similarly speedy Japanese knotweed, especially when you consider the likeness between the way the plants grow.

Like Japanese knotweed, bamboo grows in nodes from difficult-to-eradicate rhizomes.

Like Japanese Knotweed, Bamboo has strong tall woody stems.

Is Japanese knotweed the same as bamboo?

Although the Japanese knotweed plant resembles bamboo (and is often known as American bamboo, Japanese bamboo, or Mexican bamboo), it is not one. It may not be a genuine bamboo, yet it behaves like one. Japanese knotweed is a very invasive plant.

The methods for controlling bamboo are similar to Japanese knotweed.

Differences between Bamboo and Japanese Knotweed

One way to distinguish between Bamboo and Japanese Knotweed is by its leaves, which are very slender and long. This is unlike the heart-shaped leaves of Japanese Knotweed.

The leaves are also very different, growing up to 50cm long, as opposed to Japanese knotweed’s smaller heart-shaped leaves  If you compare images of the two, they are quite unlike.

Autumn bamboo leaves easily mistaken for Japanese knotweed
Autumn leaves of a Bamboo plant

Although the shoots look similar, Japanese knotweed will snap when bent, whereas bamboo will not yield easily.

Interesting Facts about Bamboo

  • It is able to grow very tall. The tallest plant ever recorded was 130 feet in Europe!
  • Thomas Edison used it to create the first light bulb.
  • It is edible, not just to animals but to people too.
  • It produces 35 per cent more oxygen than hardwood trees.

What to do if you are still unsure?

If you are unsure if you have Japanese Knotweed or Bamboo growing on your land then you can contact a local Japanese knotweed specialist who will help you identify what you have on your land. Most specialists these days offer a free photo identification service to clarify what you have and whether it needs investigating more.

Click here to return to the ‘Plants that look like Knotweed’ page.

Want to know more?

Knotweed Removal aims to provide the most up-to-date information, help and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain about how to proceed, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.

The best means to contact us is via our email –

Do not forget we have a library of blogs covering many areas relevant to Japanese Knotweed, our free downloadable How-to Guides and Product Reviews on the latest methods being employed to eradicate or remove Japanese Knotweed.

Knotweed Removal, UK

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