Chusquea is a genus of evergreen bamboos with about 160 species. Most of them are native to mountain habitats in Central and South America, from Mexico to southern Chile and Argentina. They are sometimes referred to as South American mountain bamboos. Unlike most other bamboos, the stems of these species are solid, not hollow. Some animals are, to various extents, associated with stands of Chusquea, for example the Inca Wren and the Plushcap.
Chusquea culeou, the colihue cane, from southern Chile and adjacent western Argentina, is notable as the most frost-tolerant South American bamboo and the only one that has been grown successfully to any extent in the temperate northern hemisphere, with successful growth as an ornamental plant north to Scotland. The colihue cane was used by the Mapuches Indians to make instruments and as lances during the War of Arauco.
Chusquea quila (in Spanish Quila), in contrast to Colihue, has a spreading or vining growth. It prefers wet places and does not grow above 500 metres (1,600 ft), where C. coleou becomes more dominant. Chusquea quila can form pure stands called Quilantales. Very few plants can grow under this species.
The genus Chusquea now includes species formerly classified in Dendragrostis, Rettbergia and Swallenochloa. The genus Neurolepis is now included in Chusquea '. The genus has been organized into three subgenera, subg. Rettbergia, subg. Swallenochloa and subg. Chusquea, although molecular evidence only supports a monophyletic subg. Rettbergia.
- Fisher, A. E., Triplett, J. K., Ho, C. S., Schiller, A. D., Oltrogge, K. A., Schroder, E. S., ... & Clark, L. G. (2009). Paraphyly in the bamboo subtribe Chusqueinae (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) and a revised infrageneric classification for Chusquea. Systematic Botany, 34(4), 673-683.
- Clark, L. G. (1989). Systematics of Chusquea Section Swallenochloa, Section Verticillatae, Section Serpentes, and Section Longifoliae (Poaceae-Bambusoideae). Systematic Botany Monographs, 1-127.
- Fisher, A. E., Clark, L. G., & Kelchner, S. A. (2014). Molecular Phylogeny Estimation of the Bamboo Genus Chusquea (Poaceae: Bambusoideae: Bambuseae) and Description of Two New Subgenera. Systematic Botany, 39(3).