Is it true that all bamboo in the world dies off at the same time every hundred years or so?

No, but certain species among the hundreds or thousands of known bamboos die off all at once after their single episode of flowering.

That can create problems for gardeners who cultivate a particular ornamental type.

More seriously, a mass die-off of a bamboo species in the phenomenon called gregarious flowering can endanger a species, like the giant panda, that finds its usual food source, Gelidocalamus fangianus, gone from a wide area.

However, flowering bamboos (and not all species are known to flower) vary widely in their cycles; the fixed periods range from a year to a few years or even more than a century. Not all species are so weakened by flowering that they die.

Gregarious flowering usually occurs when all plants from what bamboo enthusiasts call a clone (that is, offspring from a single parent, which has been repeatedly divided and distributed) flower at about the same time.

There has been extensive research on how to keep a stand of bamboo that starts to flower from dying because bamboo grown from seed may differ significantly from the parent plant.

Techniques include cutting back flowering culms (or canes), fertilizing generously, and propagating by planting a section of a culm with several nodes or joints.