Plants Mistaken for Bamboo

These are some of the common varieties of plants commonly mistaken for bamboo. These plants have some of the appearance of bamboo but are quite different plant categories.
 

Lucky Bamboo

Dracaena sanderianaThis is not bamboo of any form. It goes by the name “Lucky Bamboo” and is Dracaena Sanderana it belongs to the Liliaceae. It does not belong to any of the 76 documented genera embracing over 1200 species of bamboo worldwide. The common name is Lucky Bamboo or million bamboos. It has been a common “good luck” gift. It grows best in soil but is often sold with the roots in water. The plant just needs to be kept wet and out of direct sunlight. It gets its’ common name because it resembles bamboo in appearance, with segmented stems, but it is not a bamboo at all.

Horsetail

 EquisetumAlso called Snake Grass and Puzzle Grass. Commonly called horsetail because of the appearance of many of the varieties. It can also present in green segmented stems absent of foliage. It is also commonly called candock for the branching varieties and scouring-rush for the unbranched or sparsely branched species.

Giant Reed

Arundo donaxThis is a tall perennial cane that can have a corn like appearance. Can attain a size up to 20-30′ tall and 1.5″ in diameter. It rapid growth has made it an attractive planting for energy and cellulose crops in many markets. Also used extensively for woodwind reeds.

Heavenly Bamboo

 Nandina domesticaIt also goes by the name of sacred bamboo. However, it is a shrub of the Barberry family (Berberidaceae). It can attain a height of 6′-8′ tall with evergreen foliage. The plant is categorized as poisonous because of high concentrations of hydrocyanic acid.

Japanese Knotweed

Fallopia japonicaSyn. Polygonum cuspidatum, Reynoutria japonica. Belongs to the Polygonaceae family. Has the bamboo appearance of raised nodes with hollow stem structure. Considered a weed and invasive by many countries. It is on the world’s 100 worst invasive species and is definitely not bamboo.

Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea seifritziiThis plant is a clumping palm that can grow to about 10′ tall. Very similar in appearance to bamboo. Suited for tropical and subtropical environments, native understory plants in rainforests. Typically used for container plantings.