Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis'                
        "Gold Vivax"

Height: 30' to 65'
Canopy Width: 10' to 75'
Culm Diameter: 2" to 5"
Hardiness: -5 F
Light Tolerance: 2 through 5
USDA Range: 6 through 10
2 gallon:  $40
5 gallon:  $70
10 gallon: $100

     A relatively new bamboo, the awesome "Gold Vivax" is one of the most impressive, almost imposingly beautiful, giant hardy bamboos.  It embodies the classic bamboo characteristics; immense size and vitality balanced by a graceful personality. It  can potentially grow to an outstanding 65+ feet in height if given favorable conditions. Full sun, rich topsoil, lots of water during the hot summer months, and wide open space will consistently produce  bright yellow culms over 40 feet tall, supporting plumes of dark, glossy-green foliage. In regions with harsh winters to 5 F or less, 25 to 30 feet is probably its maximum size.
    In the late 1990's P. vivax 'Aureocaulis' was imported from from Europe (via Japan) and sold in a rare plant auction by the American Bamboo Society for a small fortune. Since then it has been grown successfully and propagated by a few bamboo nurseries, such as Bamboo Garden, from whom we acquired our first start. Just now it is becoming available on a wider scale.
    We have already seen it get 35 feet tall in the Pacific Northwest and can guess it's potential based on the original species from which "Gold Vivax" was derived. The more common, green culmed, Phyllostachys vivax "Chinese Timber Bamboo"  we have seen over 60 feet tall, growing along the Willamette river near Oregon City.  In Japan and China, P. vivax 'Aureocaulis' has been grown to 70 feet tall with 6 inch diameter culms!

The culms have occasional color variations: It has randomly occurring dark green stripes. Sometimes they emerge half gold and half green.
A new cultivar, called P. vivax 'Huangwenzhu', having a yellow stripe on the sulcus of a green culm, which sometimes forms spontaneously from Gold Vivax. P. vivax 'Huangwenzhu Inversa' is the reverse color; baring a bright yellow culm with a green sulcus.
    P. vivax 'Aureocaulis' grows very quickly, surpassing 30 feet within five years. It is one of a few bamboos that can obtain at least 30 feet height even in small, compromising spaces.  It has a larger leaf than most other Phyllostachys, which allow it to flourish in a shady environment. Though, as mentioned before, it performs best in full sun and wide open space.
    This giant, gold-culmed bamboo makes an outstanding specimen, dwarfing most other plants in the vicinity. It can provide an effective privacy screen, quickly erasing the apartment high-rise that sprung up next door, or grow into a forest where one can walk between towering culms, providing an oasis inside the city. Because of it's immense size and vigorous growth, care must be taken to effectively tame this giant grass (see Care and Maintenance).

Noah Bell, Shweeash Bamboo

Noah Bell, Shweeash Bamboo
We call this the "Bar code" pattern.

P.vivax'Aureocaulis'3s.jpg (344412 bytes)
Noah Bell, Shweeash Bamboo
Gold Vivax makes a nice complimentary specimen to other plants, like this hardy Trachycarpus. P.vivax'Aureocaulis'4s.jpg (245070 bytes) 
Noah Bell, Shweeash Bamboo
New shoots of Gold Vivax have dark culm sheaths that contrast nicely with the brightly colored young canes.
P.vivax'Aureocaulis'5s.jpg (296228 bytes)
Noah Bell, Shweeash Bamboo
The sheath blades on the new shoots of Gold Vivax are awesome!
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