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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 54. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of 35-40 species throughout the tropics, extending to warm temperate regions; 9 species occur in Pakistan, one of them cultivated.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Saccharum officinarum Linn. Sp. Pl. 1:54. 1753 is the cultivated sugar cane, recognisable by its awnless spikelets, glabrous glumes (except sometimes the upper on the margins) and the wide leaves which are laminate right to the base. Apart from this species, the “Noble Cane”, two other “species” are cultivated in Asia. These are now regarded as cultivars of Saccharum officinarum and one of them, Saccharum barberi Jeswiet in Archf. Suik. Ind. Ned.-Indie 1925, No. 12: 396.1925, is the one grown in Pakistan (R. N. Parker 3386 (K) from Southwest Punjab).


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Perennials, often tall; culms solid. Leaf-blades linear; ligule scarious or a line of hairs. Inflorescence large, plumose, often silvery, with many racemes crowded upon the primary panicle braches or borne directly on the main axis; racemes usually flexuous, the rhachis fragile and bearing paired similar spikelets, one sessile, the other pedicelled; internodes linear, slender, usually more than half the length of the sessile spikelet. Spikelets lanceolate, enveloped in long silky hairs from the callus; callus very short, truncate; glumes equal, membranous or coriaceous, the lower flat or rounded on the back; lower floret reduced to a lemma, this often lanceolate, shorter than the spikelet, hyaline; upper floret bisexual; lemma lanceolate, hyaline, awnless or with a straight awn, entire or rarely bilobed, sometimes reduced to a subulate vestige; palea small or suppressed; stamens 2-3. Caryopsis subglobose to narrowly oblong.

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1 Glumes coriaceous, blunt at the tip Saccharum narenga
+ Glumes membranous, at least in the upper part, acute (2)
2 (1) Spikelets awnless, or if awned the awn not visible beyond the tips of the glumes (3)
+ Spikelets conspicuously awned (7)
3 (2) Upper glume of both spikelets caudate-aristualate; lower glume acute, shorter; callus hairs shorter than to as long as the spikelets Saccharum kajkaiense
+ Upper and lower glume of both spikelets acute to aristulate, but not caudate, equal in length; callus hairs shorter than the spikelets or up to 3 times as long (4)
4 (3) Lower glume of sessile spikelet glabrous on the back; the upper glume also glabrous or sparsely ciliate on the lateral nerves (5)
+ Lower glume of sessile spikelet hairy on the back (6)
5 (4) Leaves becoming petiolate towards the base, the lamina gradually reduced to a narrow wing on either side of the midrib; blades flat or convolute above, up to 7.5 mm wide; wild grass Saccharum spontaneum
+ Leaves laminate to the base; blades flat or folded, up to 4 cm wide; cultivated grass Saccharum officinarum
6 (4) Upper glume of sessile spikelete glabrous Saccharum bengalense
+ Upper glume of sessile spikelet sparsely to densely hairy Saccharum griffithii
7 (2) Spikelets in short racemes of 4-8 joints borne on the long primary branches of the panicle (8)
+ Spikelets in long simple racemes of many joints borne directly on the main axis of the panicle; sometimes, in the lower part of the inflorescence, the racemes are borne along primary panicle branches (9)
8 (7) Upper glume of sessile spikelet glabrous, the lower glume also glabrous or sparsely hairy; hairs of glumes and callus often tinged with silver or grey; awn up to 10 mm long, well exserted from the glumes; panicle usually very broad Saccharum ravennae
+ Upper glume of sessile spikelet sparsely to densely hairy; hairs of glumes and callus usually tinged with cream or yellow; awn often short, barely exserted from the glumes; panicle rather narrow Saccharum griffithii
9 (7) Spikelets 2.5-3.5 mm long; upper lemma entire at the tip; very narrow; callus hairs very long, concealing the spikelets Saccharum rufipilum
+ Spikelets 5-9 mm long; upper lemma bifid at the tip, with long narrow lobes, or shortly 2-toothed; callus hairs not or scarcely longer than the spikelets and not concealing them Saccharum filifolium
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