Sugarcane

SugarcaneSugarcane, or sugar cane, is one of the several species of tall perennial true grasses of the genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae, native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia and Melanesia, and used for sugar production. It has stout jointed fibrous stalks that are rich in the sugar sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes. The plant is two to six metres (6 to 19 feet) tall. All sugar cane species interbreed and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids. Sugarcane belongs to the grass family Poaceae, an economically important seed plant family that includes maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum and many forage crops.

Sugarcane cultivation requires a tropical or temperate climate, with a minimum of 60 centimetres (24 in) of annual moisture. It is one of the most efficient photosynthesizers in the plant kingdom. It is a C4 plant, able to convert up to one percent of incident solar energy into biomass. In prime growing regions, such as Mauritius, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, India, Guyana, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Australia, Ecuador, Cuba, the Philippines, El Salvador and Hawaii, sugarcane crops can produce over 15 kilograms of cane per square meter of sunshine.

Sugarcane is cultivated in the tropics and subtropics in areas with a plentiful supply of water, for a continuous period of more than six to seven months each year, either from natural rainfall or through irrigation. The crop does not tolerate severe frosts. Therefore, most of the world’s sugarcane is grown between 22°N and 22°S, and some up to 33°N and 33°S. When sugarcane crop is found outside this range, such as the Natal region of South Africa, it is normally due to anomalous climatic conditions in the region, such as warm ocean currents that sweep down the coast. In terms of altitude, sugarcane crop is found up to 1,600 m close to the equator in countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. (Source: Wikipedia)

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