The Oracle Bone form of 竹 depicts a cluster of bamboo leaves extending from branches. In its current form, the stem is also clearly depicted.
竹, along with the 梅 “Plum”, 兰 “Orchid”, and 菊 "Chrysanthemum" are called the 四君子 (Sìjūnzǐ) “Four Noble Ones” or "Four Gentlemen." They are admired for their refined beauty and are the four plants most depicted in Chinese Bird and Flower Ink Wash paintings. The Four Noble Ones are often used to denote the changing of the seasons: the Orchid for Spring, the Bamboo for Summer, the Chrysanthemum for Autumn, and the Plum blossom for Winter.
竹 is a common word and radical found in many Chinese characters. When 竹 is used as a radical it is written "⺮" and is most often used on top in words such as: 竿 (pole), 笔 (pen), and 笑 (laugh).