Saccharum officinarum – Sugar Cane

Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) originates in New Guinea but the genus Saccharum has a wider origin including areas of South and Southeast Asia and much cultivated sugar cane is of hybrid origin.  Saccharum officinarum is a grass species in the tribe Andropogoneae and has C4 photosynthesis which suits it to high light conditions.  An association between this grass and Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus, a nitrogen fixing bacterial species has been demonstrated and it has been suggested that this bacterial association offers exchange of plant sugars for microbially fixed nitrogen.  In additon the bacteria seem able to reduce the effects of some potentially harmful microbes, protecting the sugar cane from attack.

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane in a pot before planting out.

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