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  Saccharum spontaneum L.
  Family Name : Poaceae (Gramineae)

  Synonyms : Saccharum canaliculatum, Saccharum semidecumbens, Saccharum propinquum, Imperata spontanea

  Common Names : Wild Sugarcane, Kans Grass, Fodder Cane, African Fodder Cane, Asian Fodder Cane

  Chinese Name : 甜根子草

Wild Sugarcane,Kans Grass,Fodder Cane,African Fodder Cane,Asian Fodder Cane
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Shrub, Grass & Grass-like Plant
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
      Maximum Height :
      2 m to 4 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Africa, Italy, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, China, Taiwan, Japan, Indochina, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Desert / Semi-Desert; Coastal Forest; Riverine; Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland; Disturbed Area / Open Ground), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest; Sandy Beach)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal, Temperate, Mediterranean, Desert / Arid
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: Tall perennial clumping grass, up to 4m height, with erect habit, deep roots and long spreading rhizomes. Secondary genetic relative of sugarcane.
      Foliage: Leaf blades linear, green with white midrib, margins finely serrated and prickly. Culms (leaf stalks) slender, fibrous with little juice, arranged in small clumps, 1-4m tall, turning brown or black when mature.
      Flowers: Spikelets of florets with long silky white hairs, borne in branching panicle inforescences (20-60cm tall) that typically tower above the rest of the plant. Plume branches ascending and often tinged reddish or purplish. Blooms towards end of rainy season in native range, but rather free-flowering in Singapore.
      Fruits: One-seeded caryopsis grains (1.5mm), tufted and dispersed by wind.
      Habitat :
      Distributed across tropical to subtropical regions of the Old World. Found at river banks, lakesides, freshwater and saline marshes, sandy beaches, sand dunes, silt plains and grasslands. Regarded as weedy or invasive in certain regions, where it quickly colonizes and forms pure stands in areas left by retreating floods, or invades pasturelands.
      Cultivation :
      Fast-growing and hardy. Prefers lots of moisture, but tolerant of drought. Withstands a wide range of soil types, including alluvial, infertile, sandy and saline soils. Tolerates heavy grazing. Prune regularly to maintain leaf state. Use gloves to prevent cuts by sharp leaf edges. Propagate by division of rhizomes, or seeds. Seeds exhibit poor germination rates, but germinated seedlings are tolerant of harsh conditions.
      Etymology :
      Genus epithet 'Saccharum' derived from Greek term 'saccharon' (sugar or sweet juice), a reference to the sugarcane genus. Species epithet 'spontaneum' means 'spontaneous', probably referring to the plant's fast growth and ability to to colonize disturbed areas readily.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Food (Herb & Spice)
      [Others]: Agriculture: Species crossed with the economically-important relative Saccharum officinarum (Cultivated Sugarcane) to produce disease-resistant sugarcane varieties. Tender young leaves used as fodder for buffaloes and cattle in India, and to feed elephants in other areas. Young leaves also made into hay for dry-season feed. Food: Tender shoots cooked as vegetable in Java, Indonesia. Seed grains eaten in Uganda. Before imported salt became available in Uganda, a type of vegetable salt was extracted from the ashes of roasted leafy canes. Medicinal: Roots regarded in Ayurvedic medicine as sweet, astringent and diuretic -- used to treat respiratory problems, constipation and piles. Products: Leaves used to make thatch and brooms. Canes (culms) used as fencing material, to make arrow shafts, fish-traps and beds, or processed into pulp to make paper. Culture: Species is regarded in India as representative of the Brahmin caste (traditionally consisting of priests and scholars). Leaves used in the religious worship of Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation and progenitor of humans.
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Dry Soils / Drought, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Poor Infertile Soils, [Remarks] (Tolerates wide range of soils, including infertile shifting sand dunes.)
      Landscape Uses :
      General, Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Hedge / Screening, Riverine, Flowerbed / Border
      Thematic Landscaping :
      Naturalistic Garden, Wildflower Garden
      Usage Hazards / Cons :
      Spines/Thorns - Leaf, Invasive / Potentially Invasive
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Abiotic (Wind)
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Abiotic (Wind)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water, Little Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Storage Organ, Division
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Green, White
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Spiny / Bristly / Stinging
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
      Foliar Venation :
      Foliar Margin :
      Serrate / Toothed
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Typical Foliar Area :
      Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Stem Type & Modification :
      Root Type :
      Underground (Fibrous Root)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Cream / Off-White, Pink, White
      Inflorescence Type :
      Flowering Period :
      Flowering Opening Time :
      Flower Lifespan On Plant :
      Several Days
      Flowering Habit :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Indehiscent Dry Fruit (Caryopsis / Grain)
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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