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Plant Description: Saccharum officinarum, known as sugar cane, is a large tufted perennial grass that is probably native to Southeast Asia. It grows to 15-20' tall in tropical/semi-tropical areas, but to 5-8' tall as an annual in cool climates. Large stems (to 2” diameter) are jointed like bamboo.

Scientific Name: Saccharum officinarum L.

Common Name: Sugar cane

Family: Poaceae/Gramineae (grass family)

Relatives: Sorghum

Origin: Southeast Asia

Distribution: Sugarcane is the main source of sugar in the world. It is grown in more than 90 countries in tropical and subtropical regions. Cultivation techniques and production challenges vary by location. Although sugarcane can be grown throughout Florida, it is only produced commercially around the southern end of Lake Okeechobee. Currently, the entire crop (396,528 acres) is used for the production of table sugar.

Importance: Refined sugar, raw sugar, molasses, alcohol, rum, yeast, syrups, dextran, confectionery, crude wax, and glucose.