Here is the list of top fifteen types of bamboos found in India.
Type # 1. Bambusa Polymorpha (Assam—Betua-, Beng— Jamabetua):
This handsome species is distributed in Northeastern India. The clean culms attain a height of 20 to 27 m and a diameter of 15 cm. It is one of the best for construction, thatching and roofing; also used for paper, agarbati sticks, fibre boards, etc. tender shoots are of best quality for edible purposes.
Type # 2. Bambusa Striata = B. Vulgaris Var. Striata (Bengali—Basni Bans; Marathi- Kalaka;; Tamil—Ponmungil):
This is a moderate sized bamboo 6 m to 10 m in height and 5-8 cms in diameter, with yellow or green striped culms. Commonly cultivated all over India upto an altitude of 1000 m. It forms loose clumps. It is widely used for furniture, toys, cages, etc., also used for construction. Commonly used as an ornamental.
Type # 3. Bambusa Tulda (Bengali—Tulda; Hindi—Santal—Mak):
This bamboo is a native of eastern India and grows gregariously between 400 and 600 m above m.s.l. It is also cultivated in the plains and foothills of north India. It is one of the most useful bamboos. Due to its strong culms; it is used for building purposes, scaffolding and roofing; also used for general purposes, specially for mats and baskets, often for paper pulp.
Type # 4. Dendrocalamus Giganteus:
This is the largest of the bamboos, cultivated often in northeastern parts and occasionally in other parts of our country. Indigenous to Myanmar (Burma). It is 24-35 m high and 20-30 cm in diameter. It is used for building purposes, water buckets, boxes, masts of boats, flower vases, etc. Tender shoot is of good quality for edible purposes. It is better than D. strictus for paper making.
Type # 5. Dendrocalamus Hamiltonii (Assam—Kokua; Bengali—Pecha; Hindi—Kaghzi Bans):
This species is found mainly in northwest and northeastern Himalayas mostly between an altitude of 600-1200 m. It is a large bamboo; with culms often over hanging, and up to 25 m long and 10-18 cm diameter, thin-walled. The most important use is for paper manufacture; also used for construction, baskets, mats, water and milk vessels, rafts, etc.
Type # 6. Dendrocalamus Strictus (Hindi—Narbans; Marathi—Nanvel; Oriya—Salia bhanso; Tamil and Malaylam—Kalmungil-, Telugu—Sadanapa veduru):
Distributed in deciduous forests almost all over India especially in drier zones usually upto an altitude 1000 m; it is commonly cultivated throughout India in the plains and foothills.
The culms are 8-16 m high and 2.5-8 cm in diameter, almost solid or internodes are thick-walled. It is the most universally used Indian bamboo for house construction, baskets, mats, furniture, agriculture implements, tool handles, chicks, etc. The important raw material for paper and rayon in India.
Type # 7. Drepanostachyum Falcatum = Arundinaria Falcata (Hindi—Ringal):
This is a low level bamboo of the western Himalaya, ranging from Jammu to Nepal, at elevations between 1200-2200 m. It grows gregariously, forming an undergrowth in the forests of deodar, oak, etc., usually in moist shady locations.
Its rhizome spreads widely and gives out loosely a large number of culms, sometimes more than a hundred. The culms are 1.8 to 2.0 m high. It is used for basket work, hookah pipes, etc. It is especially prized for fishing rods.
Type # 8. Gigantochloa Rostrata = Oxytenanthera Nigrociliata (Bengali—Kalia; Oriya—Bolangi; Garo—Washut; Bastar—Pani bans):
This is a tufted bamboo, with culms 5-8 m high and 2.5-5 cm in diameter. It is distributed mainly in eastern India and to a limited extent in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnatak. It is usually gregarious. It is used for building huts, basket work and paper manufacture.
Type # 9. Indocalamus Wightianus = Arundinaria Wightiana (Tamil—Chevani):
This bamboo occurs in the Nilgiris, Palghat and Tinnevelly, in South India, at an elevation of 1800-2600 m. It forms a gregarious undergrowth in the evergreen sholas. Culms are 2 to 3 m high and about 1.2 cm diameter. It flowers annually. The split culms are used for making mats, baskets and fences.
Type # 10. Melocanna Baccifera (Bengali—Muli; Assam—Tarai):
This species is the most common bamboo of northeastern India in the plains and lower hills. The culms do not form clumps, are straight thin-walled and attain a height of 10-20 m and a diameter of 4-7 cm. It is strong and extensively used for construction, baskets, mats, chicks, food gram containers, umbrella sticks, hats, toys, etc., an important material for superior paper pulp.
Type # 11. Ochlandra Scriptoria (Malayalam—Ammei, Ottal):
A shrubby bamboo, with culms upto 5 m in height and 2.5 m in diameter. It occurs gregariously mostly along river banks and wetter parts of Western Ghats at low elevations. It is cultivated along the margins of ponds and paddy fields as a soil binder; also used for making mats, baskets and paper.
Type # 12. Ochlandra Travancorica (Malayalam—Eetta; Tamil—Eeral, Odai):
This shrubby bamboo occurs mostly in Kerala, and in Tamil Nadu in hills of Kannyakumari and Tinnevelly districts upto an altitude of 1500 m. The culms grow up to 6 m in length and 5 cm m diameter, with rough thin-walled internodes upto 1.5 m in length.
This is one of the main raw materials for paper pulp; also commonly used for mats, baskets and for making temporary huts. One of the best soil binders along water courses and other moist slopy areas.
Type # 13. Pseudoxytenanthera Ritcheyi = Oxytenanthera Ritcheyi (Kannada—Chiwa, Choua- Maraihi—Huda, Manga):
This is an erect, thick-walled bamboo, occurring from the Konkan to the Anamalai hills on the western ghats. It is often cultivated. The culms are upto 6 m in height and 2.5 cm in diameter. They are strong and are used for tent poles, walking stricks, baskets and umbrella handles.
Type # 14. Schizostachyum polymorphum = Pseudostachyum polymorphum (Assam—Bajal, Tolli):
This is a thin-walled, shrubby bamboo, found along river banks and valleys in Northeastern states. It is in considerable demand among tea planters for baskets; also used for mats.
Type # 15. Thamnocalamus spathiflorus = Arundinaria spathiflora (Hindi—Nigal, Ringal):
This is a small bamboo, 3.5-6.0 m high, growing gregariously as an undergrowth in the fir spruce and deodar forests of the western Himalayas from 2100-2700 m. The culms are used for hookah pipes, mats, baskets, fishing rod, etc.