Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

On the cane

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Saccharum officinaru­m, commonly called sugar cane, is a perennial grass and one of four types used in sugar production. It grows in clumps up to 16 feet high and produces the largest ratio of calories to cultivatio­n area of any plant. Cultivatio­ns of it began 8,000 years ago in New Guinea, where the stems were chewed on to get to the sweet juice the plant produces. The first refined versions of it were created in India over 2,000 years ago. Besides sugar, the plant can also be used to create ethanol, and the byproducts are used to feed livestock.

 ?? USDA-NRCS PLANTS DATABASE ??
USDA-NRCS PLANTS DATABASE

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