Identifying specific types of bamboo plants can be a deceptively difficult undertaking. Over 1,000 different types of bamboo have been documented, and often you can only differentiate between types of bamboo with a magnifying glass. Despite this challenge, it is not difficult to narrow down the basic type of bamboo plant that you have. Further specification of your bamboo type may be challenging, but with some determination and the right tools and resources you should be able to properly identify your plant.
Observe the growth pattern of your bamboo plant. If your plant tends to grow in dense clumps, it is a type of clumping bamboo. If it spreads into its surrounding space, it is a type of running bamboo.
Note the growth rate of your bamboo plant. If your bamboo grows quickly, it is either a type of running bamboo or it is a tropical clumper. If it grows very slowly, it is a cold-clumping species.
Use your temperature zone map to to determine your zone. Running bamboo and cold-clumping bamboo can grow in zone 5 areas. Cold-clumping bamboo will not grow in warmer areas. Running bamboo can grow in much warmer, tropical zones as well. Tropical clumping bamboo can only grow in zones 8 and 9.
Use a magnifying glass and bamboo identification guide book to further specify what kind of bamboo plant you have.