"Where the breadfruit fall and the penguin call And the sound is the sound of the sea
Under the bam
Under the boo
Under the bamboo tree"

--T. S. Eliot, "Sweeney Agonistes"

A sad confluence--
everyone in the end turns into
young bamboo shoots

--Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), from Haiku

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Bamboo shoots

(Phyllostachys pubescens)

Bamboo shoots contain toxic concentrations of cyanogens, which cause cyanide poisoning. Thus, they must always be cooked before canning or eating. Perhaps this is why an ancient Chinese proverb says, "When eating bamboo shoots, remember the men who planted them."

Tu Fu, 8th century Chinese poet, includes them in a "Quiet Moment" (trans. J.A. Turner):

Catkins tossed to left and right
Carpet all the lanes with white.
Lily-leaves on brooks are seen
Like so many coins of green.

In by the roots
Of bamboo-shoots
Young pheasants hidden keep:
And on the beach
Small ducklings, each
Beside its mother, sleep.