Description from Flora of China
Arborescent or shrubby bamboos. Rhizomes leptomorph, with running underground stems. Culms diffuse, sometimes also clustering, erect to nodding; internodes substantially grooved above branches, initially usually pubescent; nodes prominent, sheath rings corky. Branches 3, rarely 5–7 at higher nodes, subequal, buds initially closed at front. Culm sheaths deciduous, setose; ligule serrate or entire; blade lanceolate. Leaves 3–9 per ultimate branch; blade lanceolate. Inflorescence fully bracteate, partially iterauctant, lateral, racemose, prophyllate. Spikelets 1–3, subtended by a prophyll and 2 to more gradually enlarged bracts or glumes, apical 1 or 2 bracts usually with axillary buds, forming secondary pseudospikelets, lateral spikelets sessile, terminal spikelet variably pedicellate. Spikelets with several to many (up to 50) florets. Rachilla disarticulating between florets. Lemma leathery, apex acute; palea about as long as lemma or slightly shorter, 2-keeled, rounded at apex, ciliolate; lodicules 3, membranous, many veined. Stamens 3, sometimes 2 or 4; filaments free. Ovary ellipsoid; style 1, sometimes absent, usually long; stigmas 2 or 3, plumose. Fruit a caryopsis.
Sinobambusa is very difficult to distinguish from Indosasa without knowledge of stamen number.
In addition to the species treated below, Sinobambusa glabrata W. T. Lin & Z. J. Feng (J. S. China Agric. Univ. 14(1): 47. 1993) was described from Guangdong. It is a doubtful species, and the type possibly represents a species of Bambusa. Sinobambusa scabrida T. H. Wen (J. Bamboo Res. 2(1): 61. 1983) was described from W Guangxi based on a winter-shooting specimen. It would seem that the culm sheaths were taken from newly emerged, abnormal shoots. The flowers are unknown, and the identity of this species is uncertain.
The generic placement of Sinobambusa dushanensis (species no. 10) is uncertain. It has not, therefore, been included in the following key.
About ten species: S and SW China, N Vietnam; introduced to Japan during the Tang Dynasty; ten species (nine endemic) in China.
(Authors: Zhu Zhengde (朱政德 Chu Cheng-de), Yang Guangyao (杨光耀); Chris Stapleton)