This group comprises small to tall bamboos with leptomorph rhizomes, which can grow from 50 cm up to 4 m tall depending on the species. These bamboos are generally used as groundcover, as hedges or low mounds. Some of the species are particularly vigorous runners and it is necessary to take this into account in planning a garden. The culms are mostly rather thin, but a lot of variation is seen in both leaf size (ranging from very delicate leaves to leaves of 50 cm long) and in leaf colour (green as well as variegated leaves). Most of the species are very hardy.
This genus is most well known for Indocalamus tesselatus which has leaves of 50 cm and larger, 10 cm wide. The plant itself only grows 1-2 m tall, which makes the large leaves very special. Especially in winter, when leaves are covered with snow or ice, this species is very decorative in all gardens. Indocalamus latifolius is closely related, but has smaller leaves and does not grow beyond 1.5 m.
Pleioblastus is a genus with numerous species, many of which are very attractive for landscaping. Some forms have variegated leaves and are especially attractive in the garden. Most species are of medium size, some are small bamboos, useful for ground cover. They have 3-7 branches and the culm sheaths can be deciduous or can remain attached to the plant. Most well known are Pleioblastus variegatus with variegated leaves, Pleioblastus pygmaeus, a ground covering species and Pleioblastus auricomus with yellow green variegated leaves.
Pseudosasa is a genus which resembles Sasa very much, but the nodes are not prominent. The branching is like in Sasa on the upper (distal) part of the culms, and the branch is almost as thick as the culm. Pseudosasa japonica is without doubt one of the most useful bamboos, very well suited for hedges and screens. This species has large leaves and erect stems. Pseudosasa amabilis grows in China and is used for poles (Tonkin canes).
Sasa is a genus rich in species and forms. The nodes are prominent (in contrast to Indocalamus and Pseudosasa). Most wel known are Sasa palmata, a species which grows as tall as 3-4 m with large leaves, and Sasa veitchii which has characteristic white dried leaf margins in autumn and winter period. Sasaella is often grouped under Sasa but is a hybrid genus, recently renamed as xSasinaria. Sasaella glabra 'Albostriata' is a gracious bamboo with prominent white variegated leaves.
xPhyllosasa (syn. xHibanobambusa)
Hybrid genus with Phyllostachys and Sasa as parents. The plant was first discovered at Mount Hibano, which explains the earlier name. According to botanical rules names of hybrid genera should contain the names of both parents, and therefore xPhyllosasa is preferred. In this genus only two interesting forms are known, xPhyllosasa tranquillans, and cultivar 'Shiroshima' with variegated leaves. Both grow 2-3 m tall. Since the culms are thin and foliage large the plants tend to have an arching growth habit.