Bamboo is 16% harder than Maple. It is one of the world's fastest growing plants with some species growing up to two feet per day! Bamboo is actually a grass that grows to a harvestable height in less than 5 years. It has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots, naturally replenishing itself. The color of the bamboo is natural. Through a specialized heating process the natural sugars in the bamboo carmelize to produce the beautiful honey color. The color is permanent and will not wash or wear off. The bamboo used in this product is neither a food source nor is it from the habitat of China's giant panda.