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Hedonisia Hawaii Botanical Plant Inventory

Sugar Cane

Name of Plant: Sugar Cane

Type of Plant: Edible


1) Plant History & General Information:

a) Scientific Name: Saccharum officinarum

b) Region of Origin: Southeast Asia

c) General History: Early farmers in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, may have also boiled the cane juice down to a viscous mass to facilitate transportation. But the earliest known production of crystalline sugar began in northern India. The exact date of the first cane sugar production is unclear. The earliest evidence of sugar production comes from ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts. It is difficult to determine a precise date for early sugar production, however, because scholars do not agree on the date of the ancient texts that first mention sugar production.

2) Plant Uses:

a) As Food: Sugar cane is the source of sugar in all tropical and subtropical countries of the world.

b) As Medicine: Sugarcane features in both folk and traditional systems of medicine in South Asia. It has been used to treat a wide variety of health complaints from constipation to coughs. It has been used externally to treat skin problems, a use that is being supported by scientific evidence.

Folk medicine: A common folk remedy is to mix fresh stem juice with dry ginger in order to relieve hiccups. A plaster made from equal parts of sugar and yellow soap is used externally for treating boils, while crude sugar is applied to carbuncles.

c) Other Uses: Byproducts obtained from sugarcane include molasses, rum, alcohol, fuel, livestock feed, and from the stalk, paper, residue, and wallboard.

3) Growing Instructions

a) Growing: Sugar cane grows best in warm, sunny, frost-free weather. It needs fertile, well-drained soil and at least 1,500 millimeters of rain each year or access to irrigation supplies. Young sugarcane needs plenty of moisture and protection from weeds. When the sugarcane is taller, sunlight can’t reach the ground, preventing most weed growth.

b) Best time to Harvest: Sugarcane takes 12-16 months to mature. When it is ready for harvesting it stands two to four meters tall. Farmers harvest their cane between June and December when rainfall is less frequent and the plant’s sugar content is at its highest.
Traditionally, the cane has been burnt before harvesting to remove leaves, weeds, and other trash which impede harvesting and milling. However, it is now common for sugarcane to be harvested green rather than burnt.

c) Sunlight Requirements: Full Shade, Partial Shade, Full Sunlight

d) Soil Requirements: The soil is normally rested or left fallow for a period before new sugarcane is planted. Ploughing ensures the soil is broken into fine even particles which helps the roots of the new plants reach food and moisture.

e) Propagation: Cutting, Division, Grafting, Seed, Separating

f) Controlling Spread: /

g) Difficulties with this plant: /

h) History of this Plant at Hedonisia: /

i) Location on Property: Garden Z Volcanic crater on the far side.