Hey Baby, Got A Number?

Sugar cane doesn't have the the privilege like humans to chose who they want to mate with so there isn't a need for any corny pick up lines.  In fact sugar cane reproduces asexually by the use of pieces of the stem called setts or cuttings of the plant that contain at least one node.  It is critical that these cuttings contain a node because when placed and covered in the ground these nodes will give rise to the primary roots.  The new stem will also grow out of the bud primordium on this cutting.  The first stalk of sugar cane that comes up each year is called the ratoon.   Sugar cane can also reproduce by the use of seeds in some types, but using cuttings of the plant is a much more common method. 

Sugar cane is  a perennial plant meaning that it grows through all seasons and also lives for more than two years.  Harvesting of sugar cane can be done either by hand or through the use of machinery every twelve months.  Harvesting sugar cane by hand might seem like an ancient practice, but it accounts for over half of the world's production.  This is especially prevalent in the developing countries where sugar cane is readily grown.  Once this original cutting is planted, sugar cane can be harvestBurning of a sugar cane field.ed many times.  Usually a field is replanted after two to ten harvests.  The normal practice when harvesting sugar cane by hand is the initial burning of the field.  This clears away dry, dead leaves and leaves the wet sugar cane stalks unharmed.  This is also another useful technique in ridding the field of poisonous snakes that may be living in the comfortable sugar cane fields.  After the field is burned, workers use machetes to cut the sugar cane right above the ground leaving the roots and the lower part of the stem in the ground for the next crop to be harvested twelve months later.      

The next stop on our adventure through Sugar Cane Land is at Adaptation Central.  Check out the cool ways sugar cane has learned to live in sometimes unfavorable conditions.

Want to check out another cool organism?  Check out the Sour Cherry.  This organism is also  cultivated and harvested so we can enjoy many of our favorite desserts.