A potential giant even in cooler areas, this bamboo grows with an average height of 7 meters (23 feet) reaching up to 12 meters (40 feet) or more with a maximum culm diameter of 10 cm (4 inches).  New culms are dark green, paling with age,  with a white ring appearing under each node.  Branches are short and leaves are small for a bamboo of the genus Phyllostachys.  Culm sheath colors of purple-red or brown fade or stripe into light colors of tan or yellow-white further up.  Like water bamboo, the rhizomes and roots of this species have air canals as an adaptation for living in wet soil. 
This bamboo grows in areas ranging from subtropical to temperate and tolerates winter temperatures down to -21°C or -26°C (-5°F or -15°F)  being a more cold hardy bamboo.  Its natural distribution in China is limited primarily to Zhejiang province  where it is cultivated.  Due to difficulties in propagation, availability is limited. 
Its common name "Anji golden bamboo"  derives from the Chinese, Anji being a county in Zhejiang province. The botanical Latin "parvifolia" means "small-leaved".
This species is grown mainly for edible shoots, while the culms have general purpose uses.  Harvested moderately early, the shoots are of excellent flavor.