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Saccharum officinarum

Common namescana de acucar, caña de azúcar, canna da zucchero, dovu, dovu buta, dovu vico, ganna, kabakabavale, malaqele, peqi (Simbo), shenkora, suga, sugar cane, sugarcane, suikerriet, suti (Roviana), te kaikawewe (Kiribati), to, tolo (Samoa, Tuvalu), Zuckerrohr
Ecocrop code1884

DESCRIPTION: The sugar cane plant is a large perennial tropical grass with thick stems that may grow up to 2-3 meters tall, but with extended growing periods it can become much taller. The roots of the cane plant develop from the growth ring on the original planting piece and also from the new shoots that develop. The majority of the roots are thin and superficial with four fifths of the roots commonly found in the top 25-50 cm. Thicker roots will penetrate to depths of four meters or more. The stem of sugarcane is economically the most important plant part. The stems are made up of nodal units, which include the node and the internode. The internal part of the stem is largely parenchyma interspersed with vascular bundles. The parenchyma cells accumulate sugar. Each node subtends a leaf with an axillary bud at the base of the leaf sheath. The individual shoots of sugarcane show strong apical dominance; however, when this is broken the axillary buds develop into new shoots. Contrary to most grasses, the stem is not hollow but filled, as in maize and sorghum. In a magnified cross section it presents the typical aspect of a monocotyledon. Inside the rind tissue and within the vascular bundle is the delicate parenchyma that contains the sucrose-rich plasma. The leaves of sugarcane are distributed alternately on the stem and comprise the leaf sheath and the leaf blade or lamina. The leaf sheath wraps closely round the stem and in some varieties clings to the stem long after the leaf blade and the sheath have senesced. On some varieties the sheath ruptures naturally where it joins the node and the leaves fall naturally. Leaves and sheaths of some varieties are covered with a large number of siliceous hairs. These hairs penetrate the skin of cane cutters and are most unpleasant; hence cane cutters prefer varieties with few hairs or burnt cane. The terminal meristem of the cane shoot turns reproductive about 3 months before the emergence of the flower. The flowers of cane are of no commercial significance per se, and many varietal selection programs are directed towards the elimination of flowering in commercial fields. Flowering is, however, of great importance in breeding programs, many of which use artificial methods to stimulate flowering. USES: It provides raw sugar. Important by-products are bagasse, molasses, filter mud cakes, and cane wax. Bagasse is residue used as fuel, livestock feed, and for the manufacture of fiberboard, paper pulp, plastic, furfural, and cellulose. Molasses are fed to livestock, used for industrial purposes, in confectionary, and it is the source of industrial alcohol as well as rum and gin. Filter mud cakes are used as fertilizer. Cane wax is used in the production of furniture, shoe, and leather polishes, electrical insulating material, and waxed paper. Brazil is a major grower of sugarcane, which is used to produce sugar and provide the ethanol used in making gasoline-ethanol blends (gasohol) for transportation fuel. KILLING T.: Seedlings may not tolerate -7 to -12°C, and the mature plant not -2°C. Long-term exposure to temperatures below 10°C may also be lethal. When temperatures reach 0°C leaves become chlorotic, at about -3°C young plants turn brown and the terminal buds and leaves of mature cane die, at -5.5°C the millable stem dies. When the temperature reaches -11.5°C the whole plant dies in susceptible clones. There are large varietal differences in cold tolerance and susceptibility to frost. GROWING PERIOD: Perennial, growing from 7-24 months, usually 14-18 months, with an additional 12 months for the ratoon crop. It is normally grown as a perennial crop in which several ratoons are taken. COMMON NAMES: Sugarcane, Nobel cane, Canne a sucre, Cana de azucar, Zuckerrohr. FURTHER INF.: For ripening relative low temperatures in the range of 10-20°C and dry weather are desirable. Sugarcane is photoperiod sensitive. Flowering is induced by a continuous reduction in day length of as little as 1 minute per day from long days of about 13 hours. Most commercial sugarcane is grown between 35°N and S in the tropics usually at altitudes from sea level to 1600 m. Nobel canes are native to islands in the South Pacific, most probably New Guinea. The photosynthesis pathway C4 III. Cane us is considered to be moderately tolerant to saline soil conditions; electrical conductivity of the soil solution should be less than 2 d S m-1 with a threshold value of 4 d S m-1. In Khuzestan, Iran, cane is grown on soils which have been desalinated from an EC of 30 to 3 dS/m-1. Cane is relatively tolerant of acid soils with large areas of cane in Latin America grown on the acid oxisols and utisols. It prefers moderate to high humidity and high winds cause damage and lower yields. Where sugarcane is grown under irrigation in Africa, a yield of 100-150 tons of cane/ha is obtained from the plant crop and 60-90 tons from the first ratoon crop. Under rain-fed conditions, about half of the above mentioned yield is obtained. Sugarcane is grown on over 20 million ha with an average yield of 64 t/ha to produce a total of 1,25 million t of cane. This is equivalent to about 130 million t of sugar if all the cane were used to produce sugar in moderately efficient factories. Centrifuged sugar production from cane is much less, as large quantities of cane are used to produce alcohol, particularly in Brazil as a liquid fuel.
Grassland Index
Kew GrassBase
Sims D (pers. comm.)
Rehm S 1991 pp 68-72 [TEMP, KTMP, PHO, RAIN, TEXT, FER, DEP, DRA]
Landon J 1984 pp 281 286 291 305 [TEXT, DRA, DEP, PH, FER, SAL]
Kassam A 1976 pp 113
Doorenbos J 1979 pp 145
Sys C 1984 pp 70
Maas E 1990 pp 272
Bunting 1981 pp 39
Roecklein J 1987 pp 411 [USE, TEXT, SAL, RAIN]
Eswaran H 1986
Kozlowski T 1977 pp 90
Williams C 1979 pp 50-65 [RAIN, TEMP, LIG, PHO, LIMIT, TEXT, DEP]
Kung P 1970 pp 209
Skerman P 1990 pp 640-646 [TEMP, KTMP, RAIN, DRA, TEXT, SAL, FER]
Williams C 1979a pp 234-240 [RAIN, TEMP, PHO, LIG, KTMP, SAL, PH]
Purseglove J 1972 pp 214-256 [TEMP, LIG, RAIN, FER, DRA, USE, TEXT, PHO]
Van Waveren E 1993 pp 38
Onwueme I 1991 pp 402-414 [TEMP, LIG, RAIN, PHO, TEXT, FER, PH]