Is Sugarcane a Seed-Bearing Plant?


Sugarcane, also known as Saccharum officinarum, is a hybrid crop plant that was created by crossing around six distinct species of the genus Saccharum. Sugarcane is a huge grass that provides a majority of the world’s population with their supply of sugar. These grasses’ parent species are responsible for the production of a large quantity of sugarcane seeds; nevertheless, the vast majority of cultivars are sterile and do not generate seeds. Sugarcane used in commercial plantations is propagated vegetatively from seed cane, which consists of pieces cut from the stems of cultivated varieties and then rooted. In the process of developing new sugarcane cultivars, it is still necessary to make use of the actual seeds that are produced when sugarcane flowers are pollinated.

History of Sugarcane

Sugarcane first appeared in southeast Asia and the Pacific, where it was cultivated for the purpose of sucking the sugary juice from the stalks of the plant. Sugarcane was first cultivated in New Guinea about 6000 B.C., and from there it made its way gradually to Asia and India. Around the year 1000 B.C., India was the birthplace of the process of obtaining sugar from sugarcane juice by boiling it.

Sugarcane followed humans as they travelled throughout the globe and arrived in the Americas on Christopher Columbus’s second journey in 1493. It may be found growing in locations designated as USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11 and can be found in tropical as well as subtropical regions all over the globe.

Kinds of Sugarcane

There are three primary categories of sugarcane varieties, which are chewing canes, crystal canes, and syrup canes, with some cultivars fitting into more than one category. These categories are: chewing canes, crystal canes, and syrup canes. Chewing canes include interior fibres that are more pliable, which makes it simpler to extract juice and spit out chewed up portions. Additionally, chewing canes are used in the production of syrup. In order to facilitate the enhanced creation of sugar or sucrose crystals during the process of heating and evaporating juices, crystal canes contain a high sucrose concentration. Canes used to make syrup have a lower percentage of sucrose but include extra forms of sugars that stay liquid. This results in a syrup rather than a crystal when the sugar is cooled.

Under each variety of cane, there are a multitude of cultivars that have been given names. The cultivars “Yellow Gal,” “Georgia Red,” and “White Transparent” are all examples of chewing cane plants. The “Louisiana Ribbon,” “Louisiana Purple,” and “Louisiana Striped” syrup canes are some of the varieties available. The majority of crystal canes are commercial cultivars, therefore rather than having names, they have number identifiers.

Tiny Sugarcane Seeds

Sugarcane seeds are very minute, measuring less than 1 mm in length on average. At the very top of the sugarcane stalks, on the long flower heads that look like plumes, they develop. Each seed has a coat made of fine hairs that are designed to capture the wind and carry the seed to other locations. Because of the hairs, the seeds are often referred to as “fuzz” in the business world. Some cultivars are able to generate seeds, but these seeds cannot be utilised to start new plantations since they do not produce the same types of plants as the cultivars from which they originated.

The answer to this problem is vegetative reproduction, which allows the unique qualities of each cultivar to be maintained. Because blooming causes a cessation in sugar production in the plant, hybridizers purposely engineer cultivars to be sterile, meaning they do not produce flowers.

Vegetative Reproduction of Sugarcane

According to research conducted by Purdue University, new sugarcane plants are grown from cut sections of stem taken from old cultivars. It is recommended that you break longer stems into shorter portions so each chopped piece of stem has around six eyes or nodes. This may be found on the Master Class website. The pieces are referred to as seed canes due to the fact that the stems are utilised in lieu of seed. It is possible to store shorter pieces of seed cane in a plastic bag that can be closed and placed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to two weeks before planting them.

The seed canes are planted in the furrows lengthwise at the bottom of the furrow and then covered with an inch or two of dirt. The depth of the furrows can range from three to seven inches. The eyeballs that are located at each node will eventually sprout and orient themselves upward so that they may emerge from the ground. When the first sprouts appear, begin gradually adding additional dirt to the furrow and mounding it around the base of the budding plants. Continue this process as the plants continue to mature.

Landscaping With Sugarcane Plants

Sugarcane plants may reach heights of up to 10 feet in certain cases. After the first shoots have established healthy growth, they will begin to create new shoots from their bases, which will then give rise to other shoots. The plough ended up being packed with numerous sprouts, which ultimately formed a dense stand of stems. While acting as a windbreak or barrier planting, a single row of sugarcane may also provide you with chewing canes to enjoy in the process.

Sugarcane is an excellent candidate for a striking accent plant due to its strong vertical feature. Select variations while keeping in mind their colour and shape. The “Pels’ Smoke” cultivar includes stems that are purple and foliage that is a burgundy colour. If you happen to live in a region where frosts are possible, growing sugarcane in a container gives you the added benefit of being able to relocate the plant.

Sugarcane seed canes should be planted in the lower ranges of their respective hardiness zones during the months of August and September. This will ensure that the plants have sufficient subterranean development to withstand frosts later in the season. There is also the option of planting them in November, which will allow the eyeballs to stay dormant until the following spring.