Bamboo Flowers

    Why are bamboo flowers bad luck? If you make bamboo crafts, bamboo flowers signal an end to the supply of your materials. Like agave, bamboo rarely flowers but when it does, the entire plant dies off. Not just one plant, either, apparently. Or rather, since bamboo is a grass, the stems rising from connected rhizomes underground, the whole lot dies.

    This happened in Japan in the 1960s and in 2019 sitings of bamboo flowering all over Japan are raising concerns.

    One of the local industries promoted in Oita-ken is bamboo craft. So I wonder how this is affected my Japanese “hometown”.

    Perhaps even more surprising than the long intervals at which they flower is the fact that all plants of the same stock of bamboo will bloom at the same time, and then die, no matter where they are in the world.

    In many parts of the world where bamboo thrives, the blossoms are therefore dreaded as harbingers of bad luck, Japan being no exception.

    According to an article in weather news site, in the 1960s, one third of Phyllostachys bambusoides in Japan died, wreaking havoc on industries and local crafts which used the bamboo species as their primary source.

    JAPAN Forward May 20, 2019