Bamboo literature for your library or coffee table

Here at Bambu Batu, we’re just crazy about bamboo. Perhaps you knew that by now. We grow it, we wear it, we eat it, and we read about it.

As one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history, you can believe there are quite a few books about bamboo. So your chances of reading every bamboo book are about as good as your chances of visiting every bamboo garden. That’s why we’ve put together this list, a sort of greatest hits compilation from the world of bamboo literature.

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Yes, you might say we’re a little obsessed. But no, we’re not completely bamboo bonkers. That is, we haven’t read every book about bamboo ever written. We’ve read quite a few though, and sold several titles in the shop. We’ve also spent years researching bamboo and networking in the bamboo industry. There’s no doubt, in fact, that we are authorities on the subject.

Bamboo Subject Matter

Bamboo is an enormous subject, so to get a better handle on it, let’s break the literature down into three distinct topics. And before you order what may be described as the “bible of bamboo”, be sure that it actually covers the topics of bamboo that you’re interested in.

For example, if you’re planning to build a bamboo house, and your “bible of bamboo” is actually a phenomenally comprehensive account of bamboo’s anthropological history, then you might be in for a disappointment. Just be sure you know what you’re looking for, and always check the product description or the summary on the back cover before you make a purchase.

DISCLOSURE: To make shopping easier, we’ve included some affiliate links in this article. That means if you follow the link and make a purchase, we may earn a very small commission, at no additional cost to you.


If you’re planting or maintaining a bamboo garden, be sure your book is about growing bamboo. Plenty of bad book reviews on Amazon come from gardeners who bought books filled with “useless” information about the history of bamboo.

1. Bamboo for Gardens, by Ted Jordan Meredith

Bamboo for Gardens
Find Bamboo for Gardens, by Ted Jordan Meredith on Amazon.

Probably my number one go-to for bamboo eye candy, this beautiful volume explains the many great reasons for planting bamboo, and then goes about describing how to do so in your own garden to get the very best results. An excellent addition to the coffee table, the book is also rich with encyclopedic, botanical information on selecting, planting and maintaining the best species for your setting.

2. Ornamental Bamboos, by David Crompton

Ornamental Bamboos
Find Ornamental Bamboos, by David Crompton on Amazon.

Another very nice looking and extremely informative anthology of bamboos, this beautifully illustrated book covers a couple hundred varieties of the most attractive tropical and subtropical bamboos. Not only fun to look at, but also filled with useful, specific advice for planting and growing.

3. Farming Bamboo, by Daphne Lewis and Carol Miles

Farming Bamboo
Find Farming Bamboo, by Daphne Lewis and Carol Miles on Amazon.

If you’re thinking about growing bamboo on a larger, maybe even an industrial scale, then this is the book for you. Lewis and Miles are positively the North American authorities on large-scale bamboo cultivation. An invaluable resource for any bamboo farmer, the book is loaded with practical information on the growing, harvesting and marketing of bamboo for myriad purposes.

4. Growing Bamboo for Profit, by Craig Wallin

Interest in growing bamboo for profit is at an all-time high, and that has made this small book enormously popular. While there are countless ways to monetize your bamboo crop, Wallin focuses on developing the commercial nursery model. From species selection and propagation methods to business networking, this helpful handbook can guide you along the green path from gardener to entrepreneur.

Shop for Growing Bamboo for Profit on Amazon.

5. Bamboo for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, by Arun Jyoti Nath, Gudeta W. Sileshi, and Ashesh Kumar Das

Introducing an exceptional new book that offers a wealth of significant information and compelling case studies on the subject of bamboo farming and its profound implications for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Surprisingly, there is a dearth of research investigating the role of bamboo in addressing climate change. However, this comprehensive volume takes a significant step forward by bridging that gap, equipping policymakers with essential insights to consider the potential of bamboo farming and its implications for carbon trading. This invaluable resource is essential reading for those deeply invested in this field of study.

Shop for Bamboo for Climate Change Mitigation on Amazon.


For the real bamboo enthusiast or scholar, there is an abundance of literature out there on the 7,000-year (give or take) history of bamboo. These sorts of books will typically address the many uses of bamboo over the centuries, from eating to building to papermaking. Some are likely to focus on one area more than another. You’ll also find a wealth of mythology and folklore that usually appears alongside bamboo history. More specialized books can also cover those erudite topics.

6. The Book of Bamboo, by David Farrelly

Book of Bamboo
Find The Book of Bamboo, by David Farrelly on Amazon.

This comprehensive compendium just overflows with fascinating facts, stories and illustrations. Written with exuberant passion, the book covers the history of bamboo and its co-evolution with Asian civilization, exploring the plant’s countless uses in both the past and the present.

7. Bamboo, by Susanne Lucas

Bamboo by Lucas
Find Bamboo, by Susanne Lucas on Amazon.

Here’s yet another handsome volume to prove that bamboo is magnificently photogenic, on top of all its other remarkable traits. One of America’s foremost authorities on bamboo, the author Susanne Lucas is executive director of the World Bamboo Organization and a horticulturist, designer, and landscape gardener based in Massachusetts. Her book provides a very thorough history of bamboo and its uses by humans over several millennia, while also cataloging the impressive range of innovations and applications in modern times.


A subject that’s undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, bamboo construction is fascinating even for the layman, and can get very technical for those actually wanting to build a structure they can comfortably live in. Depending which sub-category you belong to, be sure that the bamboo construction book you buy contains the types of pictures and the level of detail that will be most useful and interesting to you.

8. Grow Your Own House, by Simón Vélez

Grow Your Own House
Find Grow Your Own House, by Simón Vélez on Amazon.

Considered something like the Master Guru of bamboo construction, no one has done more to demonstrate the incredible building potential of bamboo than Colombian architect Simón Vélez. In Grow Your Own House, Vélez presents a stunning selection of bamboo structures that will change the way you think about bamboo shelter. Contrary to the title, the book only includes a handful of houses, but it’s filled with examples of ingenious construction features that could be used across a variety of applications.

9. Bamboo: The Gift of the Gods, by Oscar Hidalgo

Bamboo experts regard this legendary text as essential for anyone interested in working with bamboo construction. The author specialized in Guadua from Latin America, but his experience spans the globe. Don’t be put off by the price, as it’s as valuable as any textbook you’ll find.

Shop for The Gift of the Gods on Amazon.

10. Building With Bamboo, by Gernot Minke

Building with Bamboo
Find Building With Bamboo, by Gernot Minke on Amazon.

This stimulating volume is loaded with useful, practical images and information about bamboo’s uses as a construction material. Featuring a great selection of bamboo structures, the book will inspire you with its broad scope and educate you with its up-close details.

11. Bamboo Architecture & Design, by Chris van Uffelen

Bamboo Architecture
Find Bamboo Architecture & Design, by Chris van Uffelen on Amazon.

This beautifully laid-out book showcases an array of bamboo structures in Asia and South America, demonstrating the plant’s ability to measure up favorably against both timber and steel.

Appendix and Endnotes

There are literally hundreds of books about bamboo out there, and these are just a handful of our favorites. If you’re looking for something more specific —whether it’s Building a Bamboo Fly Rod, the secret to Cooking With Your Bamboo Steamer, the exotic elegance of decorating with Bamboo Style, or whatever have in mind — it’s all available.

And just when thought you knew all there was to know about bamboo, perhaps you’ll discover a brand new obsession with Japanese Bamboo Basketry. Wherever your bamboo passion takes you, go there with gusto, and maybe someday you’ll be writing a bamboo book of your own.

Further reading

When you’re ready to go down some serious Rabbit Holes with bamboo, check out some of these delightfully in-depth articles.

NOTE: This article first appeared in January 2019. Most recently updated in June 2023.