Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fossil skull may hold answers to evolution of human species

Mo Hong'e, Editor
China Daily

"A fossil skull of Homo heidelbergensis, an extinct species of humans, was believed to have been discovered in Northeast China and is considered to be one of the most complete fossils of ancient humans ever found, experts said.

"This is the first discovery of a Homo heidelbergensis fossil in Asia, Ni Xijun, a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at Chinese Academy of Sciences, was quoted as saying on the website of Hebei GEO University.

"The skull has an interesting history. It was handed over to professor Ji Qiang at Hebei GEO University by an acquaintance, a farmer, who wanted to ensure the fossil would be safe. The farmer said that the skull had been dug up by a co-worker of his grandfather back in 1933 in the sediment of Songhua River in Harbin, Heilongjiang province."

Related papers:

G. Philip Rightmire
Middle Pleistocene Homo Crania from Broken Hill and Petralona: Morphology, Metric Comparisons, and Evolutionary Relationships
Human Paleontology and Prehistory
Part of the series Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology 
pp 145-159
25 January 2017
(Link) open access

Aris N. Poulianos
Pre-Sapiens Man in Greece
Current Anthropology
Volume 22, Number 3, June 1981

Ricardo Miguel Godinho, Paul O'Higgins
The biomechanical significance of the frontal sinus in Kabwe 1 (Homo heidelbergensis)
Journal of Human Evolution
Volume 114, January 2018, Pages 141-153
(Link) open access

LS Barham, AC Pinto Llona, CB Stringer
Bone tools from Broken Hill (Kabwe) cave, Zambia, and their evolutionary significance
Before Farming
Volume 2002, Issue 2

C. B. Stringer
A multivariate study of the Petralona skull
Journal of Human Evolution

Biogeography and Phylogenomics of New World Bambusoideae (Poaceae), Revisited

Sean V. Burke, Lynn G. Clark, Jimmy Triplett, Colin P. Grennan, and Melvin R. Duvall 
American Journal of Botany
101(5): 886–891

Pages 888-889:

Divergence estimates for the stem node of Arundinaria ranged from 3.6 to 4.9 mya. These dates are slightly older and span a narrower range than the comparable dates in Burke et al. (2012). Note that the divergence estimates here are likely to be improved because of increased taxonomic sampling. An early Pliocene warm period, prior to 3.5 mya, is believed to have created conditions allowing the migration of plants across the Bering land bridge between northern temperate forests in Asia and North America. Climatic cooling after 3.5 mya restricted further such dispersal (Wen, 1999). The period of climatic cooling only intersects the end of the earlier estimated age range of the stem node of Arundinaria (1.9 to 3.9 mya; Burke et al., 2012). Our new age estimates for this node place this divergence earlier and with a range of estimates that is entirely within the climatically favorable period suggesting that the evolutionary divergence of the genus approximately coincided with its geographic dispersal into North America.

Intrageneric phylogeographic events in Arundinaria can also be examined here because of the inclusion of all three species. The post‐dispersal evolution of Arundinaria in North America included a divergence event sometime around the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary at 2.3 to 3.2 mya. Climatically, this was a period of general global cooling, ending in incipient glaciations at high latitudes (Bender, 2013). Our estimates of the divergence of A. appalachiana and A. tecta from their ancestral lineage are much more recent, ranging from 0.57 to 0.82 mya. During this time period further cooling led to glacial advances of the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets extending into the midlatitudes of North America (Bowen et al., 1986). These glaciations would have five possible consequences of relevance to the intrageneric evolution of Arundinaria: (1) Extinction of lineages, particularly in glaciated or cooler regions of western and northern North America (Wen, 1999); (2) Isolation of lineages in one or more refugia in the Gulf Coastal Plain (Triplett et al., 2010); (3) Increased intraspecific and interspecific competition with other cold‐intolerant plants that were also forced into these refugia; (4) Hybridization among different ecomorphs of Arundinaria brought into proximity in refugial areas (Triplett et al., 2010); and (5) Range expansions during periods of glacial retreat with the possible concurrent invasion of new ecological niches. Note that the three species of Arundinaria are distinct ecomorphs suggestive of niche differentiation (Triplett et al., 2006). The selection pressures exerted by one or more of these putative events may be responsible for the divergence of A. appalachiana and A. tecta from their common ancestor. However, complete understanding of this intrageneric diversification requires more precise estimates of the timing of Pleistocene glaciations and the evolutionary divergence.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A 250 plastome phylogeny of the grass family (Poaceae): topological support under different data partition

Jeffery M. Saarela​, Sean V. Burke, William P. Wysocki, Matthew D. Barrett, Lynn G. Clark, Joseph M. Craine, Paul M. Peterson, Robert J. Soreng, Maria S. Vorontsova, Melvin R. Duvall
PeerJ:  Paleontology and Evolutionary Science Section
February 2, 2018

Figure 5: 

Bambusoideae portion of the maximum likelihood tree inferred from complete plastomes excluding gapped sites and including positively selected sites (tree X).
Bootstrap support, when ≥50%, for clades in this tree and clades shared among this and other trees, is summarized along branches, according to the legend. Numbers along branches are bootstrap support values in tree X.

Multi-locus plastid phylogenetic biogeography supports the Asian hypothesis of the temperate woody bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)

Xian-Zhi Zhang, Chun-Xia Zeng, Peng-Fei Ma, Thomas Haevermans, Yu-Xiao Zhang, Li-Na Zhang, Zhen-Hua Guo, De-Zhu Li
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume 96, March 2016, Pages 118-129


In this paper we investigate the biogeography of the temperate woody bamboos (Arundinarieae) using a densely-sampled phylogenetic tree of Bambusoideae based on six plastid DNA loci, which corroborates the previously discovered 12 lineages (I–XII) and places Kuruna as sister to the Chimonocalamus clade. Biogeographic analyses revealed that the Arundinarieae diversified from an estimated 12 to 14 Mya, and this was followed by rapid radiation within the lineages, particularly lineages IV, V and VI, starting from c. 7–8 Mya. It is suggested that the late Miocene intensification of East Asian monsoon may have contributed to this burst of diversification. The possibilities of the extant Sri Lankan and African temperate bamboo lineages representing ‘basal elements’ could be excluded, indicating that there is no evidence to support the Indian or African route for migration of temperate bamboo ancestors to Asia. Radiations from eastern Asia to Africa, Sri Lanka, and to North America all are likely to have occurred during the Pliocene, to form the disjunct distribution of Arundinarieae we observe today. The two African lineages are inferred as being derived independently from Asian ancestors, either by overland migrations or long-distance dispersals. Beringian migration may explain the eastern Asian–eastern North American disjunction.

Molecular phylogeny of Asian woody bamboos: Review for the Flora of China

Chris M.A. Stapleton, Gráinne Ní Chonghaile and Trevor R. Hodkins
Bamboo Science and Culture: The Journal of the American Bamboo Society 22(1): 5-25 
(Link) pdf


Molecular data was reviewed for the woody bamboo account in the English language Flora of China. The implications for recognition of suprageneric taxa and genera, for macro-morphological characters used in classification systems, and for the inferred biogeographical history of Asian bamboos are discussed. Support was not found for large super tribes based on inflorescence structure. Instead a restricted number of suprageneric taxa was suggested, with only 3 subtribes for Asian woody bamboos. The presence of both iterauctant and semelauctant inflorescences within subtribes shows that bamboos with these contrasting forms can be closely related, suggesting that simpler evolutionary pathways are required to explain them. Differences in sequence divergence between tropical and temperate subtribes suggests different biogeographical histories. It is hypothesized that temperate bamboos diversified later in Asia, only after the collision of the Indian and African tectonic plates with the Eurasian plate, and that the poor resolution of temperate taxa from sequence data is largely the result of rapid diversification after this biotic interchange. Sequence data provided somewhat equivocal evidence for recognition of genera. It was useful in demonstrating the polyphyly of broad interpretations of genera Sinarundinaria, Thamnocalamus, Schizostachyum, Racemobambos, Drepanostachyum, Arundinaria and Bashania. However, in the temperate Arundinariinae, sequence data was not capable of refining boundaries between closely related genera, for which different molecular markers may prove more useful. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018


The Washint is a traditional end blown flute of Ethiopia, traditionally manufactured from bamboo. There are three bamboos native to Ethiopia, one of which is in the Arundinarieae bamboo tribe: Yushania, also known as Oldeania alpina. The other two bamboos in Ethiopia are Oxytenanthera abyssinica and Oreobambos buchwaldii.


Kassahun Embay
The Indigenous Bamboo Forests of Ethiopia: An Overview
AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
29(8):518-521. 2000
April 3, 2000

Zenebe Mekonnen, Aderes Worku, Temesgen Yohannes, Mehari Alebachew, Demel Teketay, and Habtemariam Kassa
Bamboo Resources in Ethiopia: Their value chain and contribution to livelihoods
Ethnobotany Research and Applications
Vol.12, 4
November 2014

Cynthia Tse Kimberlin
The Scholarship and Art of Ashenafi Kebede (1938-1998)
Vol. 43, No. 2 (Spring - Summer, 1999), pp. 322-334

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Phylogeny and Taxonomy of the genus Arundinaria (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)

Jimmy Triplett
Iowa State University
(Link) pdf

A new genus and a major temperate bamboo lineage of the Arundinarieae (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) from Sri Lanka based on a multi-locus plastid phylogeny

Attigala et al.,
Phytotaxa, 174(4),
June 2014


Kuruna, a new temperate woody bamboo (Poaceae, Bambusoideae, Arundinarieae) genus from Sri Lanka, is recognized based on chloroplast sequence data from five markers (coding: ndhF 3’ end; non-coding: rps16-trnQ, trnC-rpoB, trnD-trnT, trnT-trnL). This genus represents the twelfth major lineage of temperate woody bamboos and is characterized by pachymorph culm bases with short necks, unicaespitose clumps, culm leaf girdles ca. 1 mm wide, usually abaxially hispid culm leaves with non-irritating hairs, persistent foliage leaf sheaths, complete branch sheathing and acute to biapiculate palea apices. Maximum Parsimony, Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses of a combined data set consistently strongly supported the monophyly of this Sri Lankan temperate woody bamboo clade. Although the Kishino-Hasegawa test is unable to reject the alternative hypothesis of monophyly of the Sri Lankan clade plus Bergbambos tessellata from South Africa, Kuruna and Bergbambos are distinguishable by a combination of morphological characters. A few additional cpDNA markers not previously used in phylogenetic analyses of Arundinarieae were tested to evaluate their utility in this taxonomically difficult tribe.

Figure 2:
Strict consensus of 1019 most parsimonious trees based on the five-region cpDNA dataset (rps16–trnQ, trnC–rpoB, trnD–trnT, trnT–trnL, ndhF 3’). Shaded region indicates the well supported Sri Lankan Arundinaria clade. Numbers indicate bootstrap values ≥ 70% from MP and ML analyses and posterior probabilities ≥ 0.95 from the BI analyses, respectively. Note that Clade XI is not shown in the tree because it was unsampled 

Carbon farming with bamboos in Africa: A call for action

Gudeta W. Sileshi, Arun Jyoti Nath
Working Paper
April 2017


Despite the crucial role that bamboos play in local livelihoods and landscapes, the resource base in Africa is little known because National Forest Resources Assessments rarely capture the necessary data. Bamboos have also received very little attention in research, development and policy agreements related to climate change. For example, bamboos are missing in the definition of forests under the CDM and the IPCC guidelines for greenhouse gas emission inventories. Compared to other regions, continental Africa has only five species of woody bamboos, namely Oxytenanthera abyssinica, Oreobambos buchwaldii, Oldeania alpina, Bergbambos tessellata and Hickelia africana. Bergbambos tessellata and Hickelia africana are now in the IUCN red-list as rare or endangered species. The population of woody bamboos is dwindling because of expansion of settlements, clearing for agriculture and over-exploitation of bamboo resources for domestic use and trade. If sustainably managed, bamboos have high potential for biomass production, carbon sequestration and income generation in Africa, thus contributing to climate change mitigation, adaptation and green development. When deployed in the right place bamboos can also help in rehabilitation of degraded land, protection of key water towers and contribute to conservation of biodiversity. We recommend that bamboos be given greater recognition in policies and land management plans in Africa. We also recommend increased government support for the youth and women in bamboo planting and enterprise development. This could become an important avenue for tackling the burgeoning youth unemployment in Africa. We also point to opportunities for transfer of genetic materials and knowledge on bamboos from Asia to Africa.

Oxytenanthera abyssinica
Native range: distributed across lowlands of much of Sub-Saharan Africa
Wikipedia (Link)

Oreobambos buchwaldii
Native range: Congo, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Northern South Africa
Wikipedia (Link)

Oldeania alpina
Native range: Cameroon in the west, to Ethiopia in the east, to Malawi in the south
Chris M. A. Stapleton, Bergbambos and Oldeania, new genera of African bamboos (Poaceae, Bambusoideae), PhytoKeys 25: 87–103 (2013)

Bergbambos tessellate 
Native range: South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
Chris M. A. Stapleton, Bergbambos and Oldeania, new genera of African bamboos (Poaceae,  Bambusoideae), PhytoKeys 25: 87–103 (2013)

Native range: Tanzania
Wikipedia (Link)

The Potential of Bamboo for the Restoration of Degraded Landscapes in Ghana

Kwakye Ameyaw, The Potential of Bamboo for the Restoration of Degraded Landscapes in Ghana, Cameroon regional workshop 2016, International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation, 2016

Bamboos of Ghana:

Oxythenanthera abyssinica
Wikipedia (Link)

Bambusa vulgaris
Wikipedia (Link)
Bambusa vulgaris is the bamboo found in the Akim forest in Ghana [1] from which the bamboo for the Asante Atenteben flute was traditionally harvested, as described by Dr. Ephraim Amu [2].

Bambusa pervariabilis
Wikipedia (Link)

Bambusa bambos
Wikipedia (Link)

Bambusa arundinacea

Bambusa multiplex
Wikipedia (Link)

Dendrocalamus strictus
Wikipedia (Link)


[1] Nana K. Frimpong-Mensah, Akwasi Acheampong, Stephen L. Tekpetey, Bamboo in Green Construction in Ghana: the Studies of Selected Anatomical Properties, Proceedings of the International Convention of Society of Wood Science and Technology and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe – Timber Committee, October 11-14, 2010, Geneva, Switzerland

[2] JHK Nketia, Atenteben and Odurugya Flutes

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ancient Japanese wolf may be rare remnant of ice age wolves

Ann Gibbons
Science Magazine
Sep. 25, 2018 , 10:50 AM

They "found that this wolf appeared to be a relic of an ancient group of wolves that ranged across the Northern Hemisphere until 20,000 years ago."

"The wolf’s DNA more closely resembled that of a long-extinct wolf that lived in Siberia more than 35,000 years ago than that of living Eurasian and American wolves, Niemann reported here on Friday at the International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology."

See also:

The Lost Wolves of Japan
Brett Walker
(Link)  Amazon

Common Bamboo [and Reed] Species for Flutes

David Osborn
Four Winds Flutes

Bamboos that are discussed:

Arundinaria amabilis McClure, also known as Pseudosasa amabilis
Common name: Tonkin cane
Native range:  Vietnam, South China, Japan, Korea
Sound quality:  brilliant, sonorous and powerful sound
Wikipedia (Link)

Aulonemia quecko
Native range:  Latin America
Tonal quality: highly variable from soft and mellow to bright and sonorous
Wikipedia (Link)

Ochlandra travancorica
Native rangeWestern Ghats, India
Sound quality:  vibrant, but mellow
Wikipedia (Link)

Phyllostachys aurea
Common names: fishpole bamboo, golden bamboo, monk's belly bamboo, and fairyland bamboo 
Native range: Fujian and Zhejiang Provices, China
Tonal quality:  intermediate sound quality between Phyllostachys nigra and Phyllostachys bambusoides
Wikipedia (Link)

Phyllostachys bambusoides
Common names:  Madake, giant timber bamboo, or Japanese timber bamboo
Native range: China and Japan
Tonal quality soft, mellow, rich sound
Wikipedia (Link)

Phyllostachys nigra
Common names:  Black bamboo
Native range: China
Tonal quality:  combines brilliance, sonority and sound power with the soft, mellow richness of Madake bamboo
Wikipedia (Link)

Schizostachyum spp.
Common name:  Assam bamboo
Native range: Asia, Papuasia, with a few species in Madagascar and some islands in the Pacific
Tonal quality: moderate brightness and sound power
Wikipedia (Link)

Reed grasses that are discussed:

Arundinaria gigantea
Common name:  river cane
Native range:  Southeastern United States
Wikipedia (Link)

Arundo donax
Common names: Spanish: Carrizo; Arundo;  Portuguese: caña brava; English:  Spanish cane; Colorado river reed; wild cane; elephant grass and giant reed, Cyprus cane;  Hebrew: עבקנה שכיח; Arabic: ضيبا صوب ;  Hindi: Baranal, baru, Doka, Nal, naldura ; Kannada: baalada kaddi, bilee laalada kaddi, hulagilu hullu; Malayalam: Oodappullu; Marathi: Nal ; Nepali: थुलो नरकट Thulo narkat; Sanskrit: dhamana, nala, potagala; Tamil: caravanam, koraikkuccu, korukachi; Telugu: adavikikasa-gaddi, adavikikkasagadi, kaki veduru
Native range:  (Link)
Wikipedia (Link)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Folk Classification and Conservation of Bamboo in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, Southwest China

    Phyllostachys mannii bamboo (photo credit Link)

Wang Kanglin, Xu Jianchu, Pei Shengji, and Chen Sanyang
Folk Classification and Conservation of Bamboo in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, Southwest China
Journal of Ethnobiology 20(1): 113-127
Summer, 2000
(Link) pdf

Page 114:


"Bamboo, together with several groups of herbaceous bambusoid grass, is classified by taxonomists as the subfamily Bambusoideae within the grass family Gramineae (Poaceae). As ornamental plants and sources of raw material for papermaking, textiles. basketry, matting, rope, house construction, furniture, bridges, and fishing equipment, bamboo provides a greater diversity of uses in Asia than any other group of closely related plants (McClure 1956).

"Bamboo is an important non-timber forest product (NTFP) with a high commercial value. As an important resource, bamboo has been exploited and utilized by various institutions. Heightened attention has resulted from greater recognition of the need for sustainable use of natural resources, and the need to maintain biodiversity while pursuing economic development (Williams et al. 1991). However, increasing demand for the world's bamboo resources is related to a series of threats to bamboo diversity, and has led to the extinction of a number of bamboo genetic resources. Over-exploitation and habitat destruction of bamboo genetic resources increases these threats. For example, in the Indian Himalayan region, twelve species of bamboo have been marked as rare and endangered due to biotic pressure coupled with biological phenomena such as periodic flowering, poor seed setting and indiscriminate exploitation (Biswas et al. 1997). Qiongzhuea tumidinoda in Yunnan is one bamboo species known for its beautiful culms (stems) and has been exported to south Asia since as early as the ancient Han Dynasty (1,200 years ago). The shoots of this bamboo species arc exported to Japan and other countries every year. Due to the over-exploitation of this bamboo for various ornamental, construction, and handicraft purposes, it is now one of two species of Bambusoideae on the list of Chinese Preserved Plants.

"In contrast, indigenous communities such as the Hani, Dai and Jinuo in Yunnan, southwest China have been using traditional methods and strategies of bamboo exploitation that lead to the sustainable utilization and development of bamboo resources. It is therefore important to study the indigenous knowledge systems that relate to the classification, identification, utilization, management and conservation of bamboo resources."

Table II, page 118:

"Folk classification of bamboo as related to use in Hani Communities of Mengsong, Xishuangbanna:  bamboo film used to make the bamboo flute: Phyllostachys mannii"

Page 122:

"There are also many Buddhist communities and Buddhist temples in Xishuangbanna that conserve bamboo resources. There are four requirements for establishing a temple (Wa in Dai language) which are as follows: (a) a statue of Sakyamuni (Pagodama-Zhao, in Dai language), the founder of Buddhism, (b) a pagoda in which Sakyamuni's ashes can be preserved, (c) at least five monks, and (d) the presence of some specified "temple-yard plants" (Pei 1991). Based on these requirements, many plants have been cultivated inside the temple, some of which include bamboo species such as Thyrsostachys siamensis, Bambusa sinospinosa, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, and Phyllostachys mannii."

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The history and distribution of the free-reed mouth-organ in Southeast Asia

Roger Blench
14th EURASEAA Meeting, Dublin
September 2012
(Link) pdf

Page 3:

"All the simplest free reed instruments are idioglot, in other words the reed is cut from the same material as the pipe, as with the clarinets also found in this region. However, once the reed is damaged or worn, it is difficult to replace in a complex instrument intended for long-term use. As a consequence, almost all mouth-organs have inserted separate or heteroglot reeds. Usually these are made of bronze and look not dissimilar to the jews’ harps found throughout the region. John Moore (p.c.) reports that among the Hmong the lowest pipe in the qen has two or three bronze reeds in order to increase its volume. It is hard to tell how common this constructional practice in folk instruments across the region as it may require taking instruments apart, not a favourite with museums, or discussion with the makers."

Page 14:

"One of the puzzles about the mouth-organ is the way it appears to be fully-developed from its inception; transitional or children’s instruments do not seem to account for its evolution. The initial question is the source of the free reed and to which instrument it was first applied. A possible source is the idioglot clarinet, found throughout this region. Photo 28 illustrates the ephemeral clarinets, mae lii mae lo, made by Akha women in northern Thailand. It is easy to imagine that an accident with cutting or a casual experiment might lead to the discovery of the free-reed principle. If so, the earliest instruments would have been free reed pipes similar to the clarinets. The Hmong traa nplai shown in Photo 29 is one such instrument, although today it has a reed-cap made of a glass jar. In some cases, such as the Palaung waou, an additional dronepipe without a fingerhole is parallel to the main sounding tube. Expanding the number of these may well have led to the evolution of the mouth-organ."

Page 15:

"The other important innovation is the wind-chest. These are not very common globally; for example, they do not occur in Africa, Oceania or the New World. In Western Eurasia, they are usually replaced by the flexible bag of the bagpipe, although the reedcap on shawms such as the krummhorn and others constitute a type of fixed wind-chest. The pungi, or so-called ‘snake-charmers’ pipes found in parts of India, has a gourd windcap which encloses two clarinet reed-pipes, one a drone and the other with fingerholes. It seems most likely that the wind-chest, originally a gourd, was developed in the Yunnan region first to prevent damage to the reed, and then to hold multiple pipes in place.

"In seeking the origin of the free reed mouth organ it is valuable to look at other instruments which may be transitional in its evolution. The most important of these are the single or multiple fingerhole pipes with gourd wind-chests still played in the region. One such instrument, played in South China, is the ija (Photo 30). The gourd wind-chest is in place, but is only transpierced by a single pipe with two fingerholes, resembling more the transverse fingerhole free-reed pipes played by the Hmong.

"The distributional evidence suggests that we should look to the reed-pipes of Laos and Vietnam as the original sources of the free-reed mouth-organ. Somewhere between Laos, Vietnam and Yunnan is the most likely home of the earliest instruments, which would have had gourd wind-chests and a small number of pipes. This may well have been prior to the dispersal of Austroasiatic languages, since the language phylum and the gourd-organ largely overlap. If so, then this may have been before 4000 bp, when Austroasiatic began to disperse (Sidwell & Blench 2011). If it is correct that Austroasiatic speakers reached Borneo prior to the Austronesians, then this again gives a date of prior to 3500 BP (Blench 2010)."

Friday, September 21, 2018


The Chinese Dizi is a transverse bamboo flute whose most characteristic feature is the Di Mo, made from a reed or bamboo reed caliber epidermis that is stretched across a hole in the Dizi.  The placement of the Di Mo is described in the above video.  The earliest written records of the Dizi date from the T'ang dynasty (618-907 CE).  However, it is likely older than written accounts. 

The Dizi is very similar to the Korean Daegeum in construction.

Northern Chinese Dizi are made from "purple bamboo", Phyllostachys nigra or Phyllostachys bambusoides f. lacrima-deae, while Dizi made in Suzhou and Hangzhou are made from white bamboo, Pleioblastus amarus.

The reed membrane, Di Mo, is made from the membrane of a reed or bamboo. To affix the Di Mo to the Dizi, a glue called Ejiao is used.  It is traditionally made from donkey hide in the northern coastal Chinese provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong. Both reed and bamboo can be used for the Di Mo, but it is generally agreed that reed produces a louder and clearer resonance [1].


[1] Akiko Odaka, The resonance hole with membrane; a distinctive feature of East Asian transverse flutes, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131, 3296 (2012)

[2] Bret Pimentel, Woodwind Doubling on Folk, Ethnic and Period Instruments in Film and Theater Music:  Case Studies and a Practical Manual, PhD Thesis, University of Georgia, 2009
(Link) pdf

[3] Dizi (Wikipedia)

[4] Di Mo (Wikipedia)

[5] Ejiao (Wikipedia)

See Also:

Bamboo Flutes Exploration (this blog)

Friday, September 14, 2018


Taepyeongso (Link)
Center for Arts & Technologies at Seoul National University (Link)

"The taepyeongso is a Korean double reed wind instrument, also called saenap, hojeok, or nallari. The loud and piercing sound it produces has kept it confined mostly to Korean folk music (especially "farmer's band music") and to marching bands, the latter performed for royalty in the genre known as daechwita. The taepyeongso has a conical wooden body with cup-shaped metal bell and a metal mouthpiece. There are seven fingerholes on the front and one in the back. In the past, reeds were made of the stem of river reeds (galdae) hollowed out, repeatedly steamed and dried, sanded down and shaped, and bound at the bottom with thread to hold it firmly to the mouthpiece."

Silver Grass [Korean common name: eoksae;  English common name:  silver grass;  scientific name: Miscanthus sinensis] and River Reed [Korea common names: galdae;  English common name:  river reed;  scientific name: Phragmites australis]
Yun Suh-young
Korea Times

"There are places in Korea that are famous for reed and Miscanthus sinensis, sometimes called “silver grass” or Eulalia grass. The casual observer might feel that the two plants look similar. Reed, called “galdae” in Korea, are frequently found on riversides and wetlands. Varieties of Miscanthus (silver grass, “eoksae” in Korean), are found on mountains and in fields. The most famous place in Korea for viewing silver grass is Mt. Mindoong near Jeongsun in Gangwon Province."

"Other mountains known for silver grass are Mt. Cheongwan in South Jeolla Province and Mt. Myeongseong in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province — the latter has a vast area of Miscanthus that covers much of the mountain. A festival is currently taking place there from Oct. 9 through Sunday. In Seoul, the World Cup Park in Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, is a popular destination to go and enjoy the silver grass."

"As for [river] reed, Suncheon Bay is the best known destination."

Sunday, September 9, 2018


The daegeum consists of a mouthpiece, cheonggong, and six jigong (finger holes.)  A reed membrane is fixed over the cheonggong, and adds to the dynamic timbre of the daegeum sound. The daegeum was traditionally made of old yellow bamboo [1] which is most likely a type of Phyllostachys bamboo, but needs further research. The reed pith material is from a type of reed common to the marshes of Korea and is possibly from Phragmites japonicus, Phragmites australis or Miscanthus sacchariflorus.   The cheonggong is gathered in the days before and after the fifth day of the fifth Korean lunar month (Dano).  Dano is a traditional spring season religious festival in Korea.

[1]  Healing Sound: 'Daegeum' maker seeks popularization of traditional instrument
Chung Ah-young
The Korea Times

[2] Korean Traditional Music Instrument and Educational Mobile Tool 
Young Joo Park, Zong Woo Geem
(Link) pdf

Friday, September 7, 2018


Harvesting Phragmites from the Udono Yoshihara Reed Bed (wiki commons)

Why Phragmites australis Canes Grown in Udono Reed Bed are the Best Materials for the Reeds of Japanese Wind Instrument ‘Hichiriki’: A Structural and Biomechanical Study
Masahiro Kawasaki, Tadashi Nobuchi, Yuta Nakafushi, Masateru Nose, and Makoto Shiojiri
Microscopy Microanalysis 21 (Suppl 3), 

Physical properties of a reed (Phragmites australis) used for the vibrating reed of Japanese traditional oboe (Hichiriki)
Ryo Nakanishi, Eiichi Obataya
2nd International Symposium Wood Science and Craftsmanship
20th-23rd September, 2016, Kyoto, Japan

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Arundo donax: Source of Musical Reeds and Industrial Cellulose

Robert E. Perdue, Jr. 
Economic Botany 
Vol. 12, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1958), pp. 368-404 


Arundo donax has played an important role in the culture of the western world through its influence on the development of music. Reeds for woodwind musical instruments are still made from the culms, and no satisfactory substitutes have been developed. This grass has also been used as a source of cellulose for rayon and considered as a source of paper pulp.


Related posts for musical instruments with Arundo reeds (this blog)

La Construzione delle Launeddas

Launeddas della Sardegna - Luigi Lau

Antichi Ricordi di Sardegna

Ancient Greek Auloi - Dr. Stefan Hagel

Balkan Gadjii (Bagpipe)

Bohemian Bagpipes - Landler Dance from Maria Taferl

Estonian Bagpipe - The Torupill

Georgian Bagpipe

Kawala Flute Manufacture

Arghoul Double Flute of Egypt

Marzoug (Algeria, Tunisia)

Double Reeded Gaida of the Hausa and Kanuri

Sindhi, Rajasthani and Baloch Alghoza en Bambou

Sindhi Alghoza

Rajasthani Algoza

R1b Bagpipe Theory

Related posts on reeded musical instruments from this blog or other sites that are in the native ecozone range of Arundo that are manufactured with a variety of reeds (Arundo, Guadua, fan palm and Moso bamboo)

Ujuk-Tapu of Aranachal Pradesh, India

Hulusi (Yunnan Provice, China)

Suona (China and Taiwan)

Daegeum (Korea)

Hichiriki (Japan)

Thai free reeded Khaen (แคน)

Thai free reeded Pi chum (ปี่จุม; called ปี่ซอ pi so in northern Thailand) - free reed pipe used in the Lanna (northern) region

Thai free reeded Gourd mouth organ - used by the Akha (called lachi), Lisu (called fulu), and Lahu (called naw)

Thai Oboe: Pi (ปี่) - quadruple- or double-reed oboe

Making the Lao Khaen - Ajahn Buavanh from Xieng Khouang

Sompoton - Sabah, Borneo

Links to other sites for traditional musical instruments manufactured with Arundo as the reed

Asturian Gaida

Binioù Kozh (Bretagne)

Uilleann Pipes (Ireland)




Maltese Zummara

Mijwiz (Middle East, Iraq)

Habbān (Persian Gulf)

Shainai (India)

Kargı Düdük

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Origin of the invasive Arundo donax (Poaceae): a trans-Asian expedition in herbaria

Laurent Hardion, Régine Verlaque, Kristin Saltonstall, Agathe Leriche, Bruno Vila 
Annals of Botany, 
Volume 114, Issue 3, 
Pages 455-462
1 September 2014
(Link) open access

Key Results

Despite analysis of several plastid DNA hypervariable sites and the identification of 13 haplotypes, A. donax was represented by a single haplotype from the Mediterranean to the Middle East. This haplotype is shared with invasive samples worldwide, and its nearest phylogenetic relatives are located in the Middle East. Morphometric data characterized this invasive clone by a robust morphotype distinguishable from all other Asian samples. The ecological niche modelling designated the southern Caspian Sea, southern Iran and the Indus Valley as the most suitable regions of origin in Asia for the invasive clone of A. donax.

Related Posts on this blog

Sindhi, Rajasthani and Baloch Alghoza en Bambou