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A family closely related to the grasses (Poaceae) and sometimes considered to be a subfamily (Bambusoideae) of them. Nearly all have woody stems; a very few are herbs. The tallest grow to 40 m, the stoutest to 90 cm girth. Usually they are clump-forming, with a big underground rhizome. They either fruit annually, or at long intervals and then die. The fruit is dry, or occasionally fleshy. Many are of major economic importance for building, scaffolding, or paper-making, or for the edible young shoot tip. Some whole cultures in Asia are based on bamboos. There are about 45 genera, mainly tropical and subtropical, and most diverse in S. America.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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