Mexican Bamboo – Identification

Q: I have this plant that has been handed down from my aunt, to my mother, and then to me. It was referred to as a Japanese cane. The stems are hollow, dies down in the winter, spreads underground.

In spring it grows rapidly, and can grow 10 or 15 feet tall. It has flowers in late summer. The Japanese beetles love it as you can see on the leaves!

A: It’s Mexican bamboo, Polygonum cuspidatum. Some nurseries sell it as ‘Crimson Beauty’ cane.

Other varieties include ‘Variegata’, ‘Spectabile’ and ‘Tricolor”. No matter what it’s called, I can’t recommend anyone buy or plant it.

It’s the “spreads underground” part of your note that tells me you are aware of how fast it can spread and how much of a nuisance it can be.

This is one plant the Japanese beetles can have!!

See all the negatives from other gardeners at Mexican Bamboo


Mexican bamboo ‘Spectabile’

polygonum cuspidatum 1