The Mystery of the Dying Bamboo
For the first time in nearly 120 years, "hachiku" bamboo is flowering all across Japan. The hachiku bamboo plant expands by sending out underground stems, which can grow at a rate of about 2 meters per year. The plant then essentially creates clones of itself by sending up shoots from these stems. Yet once every 120 years, the hachiku bloom, leave seeds and die off en masse. Why has this type of bamboo developed such an unusual flowering cycle? First, researchers ran simulations on the evolutionary process of bamboo based on observational data. Analysis of the results has yielded clues into bamboo's incredible survival strategy. We'll also look at rare footage of hachiku bamboo flowering, and see how a new material made from bamboo could change space development. On this episode, we'll explore the science behind this very common yet equally mysterious plant.

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Bamboo flowers
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