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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Poaceae | Saccharum

Saccharum officinarum Linn.


Description from Flora of China

Perennial, forming tall clumps. Culms 3–6 m tall, 2–5 cm in diam., 20–40-noded, solid, nodes glabrous, glabrous below inflorescence. Leaf sheaths glabrous, pilose at mouth; leaf blades 70–150 × 4–6 cm, usually glabrous, midrib large, white, margins sharply serrate, base rounded, apex acuminate; ligule 2–3 mm, ciliate. Panicle 50–100 cm, axis glabrous but pilose at nodes; racemes 10–25 cm; rachis internodes 3–6 mm, glabrous. Spikelets 3.5–4 mm; callus hairs 2–3 times length of spikelet; lower glume oblong, uniformly firm throughout, buff-colored, back glabrous, margins membranous and ciliate above, apex acuminate; lower lemma oblong-lanceolate, subequal to glumes; upper lemma linear, awnless. Lodicules glabrous. Anthers 3. Fl. and fr. autumn. 2n = 80.

This is the commercial crop sugarcane, now widely cultivated in tropical regions of the world. Most present-day cultivars contain genes from Saccharum spontaneum. Sugar is extracted from the soft, central tissue of the culm. The dyed inflorescence is used as an ornament.

Cultivated. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan [SE Asia, Pacific Islands; widely cultivated elsewhere].


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