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Saccharum officinarum


Saccharum officinarum

Family Name: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Common Name: Sugarcane, Tebu, 甘蔗


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Grass or Grass-like Plant (Tall Grass (Poaceae))
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Grassy


Native Distribution Tropical south-eastern Asia
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Tall clumping grass which can grow up to 6 m tall. 
Foliage Leaves are arching and linear or lanceolate (about 70 – 150 cm long, 3 – 6 cm wide). Leaves are large with conspicuous mid rib and sharply toothed leaf margin. Leaf sheath is loose mostly glabrous while being slightly hairy at the mouth. Ligule possesses small hairs too.
Stems Stems occur in culms and are about 3 – 6 m tall, 20 – 45 mm in diameter. Culms are solid, juicy, and high in sugar content. Culms are jointed at nodes and have about 20 – 40 nodes. Internodes are often swollen and coloured. 
Flowers Flowers are plume-like and usually whitish grey. Panicle is large (50 – 100 cm long), often hairless but pilose at nodes. 
Fruit Seed is oblong and small (about 1.5 mm long). 
Cultivation Sugarcane requires a lot of watering. It is propagated via stem cutting and prefers to be grown in moist soil. It tolerates slight sloping land. 
Etymology Genus epithet 'Saccharum' derived from Greek term 'saccharon' (sugar or sweet juice), a reference to the sugarcane genus.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Fruit or Vegetable): Source of sugar. Extracted juice from the tissues are processed and refined as sugar cubes, made into syrup and icing sugar. 
Others: Saccharum officinarum have many uses. The culms are used for food, medicine, alcohol production, biofuel, wax, hair removal and more. The reeds are used to make mats and thatch. Sugar is extracted from the soft tissue of the culms. Sugarcane that is planted for production of sugar is often not single species plant but a complex hybrid of several different species. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is usually grown as an annual for sugar and molasses. 
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks It is tolerant to occasional waterlogging, and slight sloping. 

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Potential Problems Moth caterpillars, borers, beetles. 
Diseases Rot, and red stripe diseases. 
Propagation Method Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Period Rarely

Image Repository



Master ID 1118
Species ID 2411
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.