PRELIMS SNIPPETS – November 21st 2022

Muli Bamboo

Why in News?

  • A research study had recently observed and listed a large variety of animal visitors/predators attracted by the fruit and flowers of Muli Bamboo (Melocanna baccifera).


  • The study found that predation is mainly due to the high content of sugars.
  • The highest-ever fruit production in a bamboo clump of this species was also reported.
  • Muli is the tropical evergreen species of bamboo.
  • It is the largest fruit-producing bamboo and is native to the northeast India-Myanmar region.
  • It accounts for 90% of the bamboo forests found in the north-eastern state.
  • It can be recognised easily by diffused clump habit.
  • The plant is also grown as an ornamental.
  • ‘Mautam’ is a strange ecological phenomenon associated with Muli Bamboo that occurs once every 48 years.
  • ‘Mautam’ means ‘Bamboo death’ in Mizo (mau means bamboo and tam means death).
  • During ‘Mautam’, the cyclical, mass bamboo flowering and large fruit production occurs.
  • This attracts animal visitors/predators including pollen predators (honey bees), fruit predators (millipedes, slugs and snails, fruit borers, monkeys, rats, porcupines, wild boars and palm civets), seedling predators (rabbits, deer), and insect/pest predators (ants, mantis).
  • Black rats greatly relish the fleshy, berry-like fruit of the Muli Bamboo and during this period, the black rats also multiply rapidly, a phenomenon dubbed as ‘Rat Flood.’
  • Once the fruits are gone, they start quickly eating-up standing crops.
  • This leads to famines claiming thousands of human lives.
  • Due to the occurrence of ‘Mautam’, Muli bamboo is locally known as ‘Mautak’.
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