Sugarcane is a tall perennial plant growing erect even up to 5 or
The plant is composed of four principal parts, the root system, the
stalk, the leaves and the inflorescence.
The root system is fibrous and consists of two types of roots, namely
'sett roots' and 'shoot roots'.
When sugarcane sett is planted in the soil and covered with moist
soil, the root primordia (translucent dots) situated at the base of
every cane joint is activated and produces roots.
These roots are known as 'sett roots' and are mostly temporary.
These are thin and much branched and function for a limited period.
These roots provide moisture and nutrients for the growing primary shoot
until it forms roots of its own. Later on these 'sett roots' cease to
function and die.
After the emergence of the primary shoot from the bud, other roots
are produced from lower rings of the lower nodes of the shoot.
Later, this process occurs progressively in upper rings of the nodes
near the soil surface. Those formed first go downwards, whereas those
formed near the soil
Surface roots grow in upper layer of soil for providing anchorage
for the plant. These roots produced From shoot are known as 'shoot roots'.
These are permanent roots and are thick, fleshy and white in colour.
New roots are continually produced from tillers.
Known as "millable cane". It develops from the bud of another
stem piece planted for vegetative propagation.
The stem pieces used for planting are known as "setts" which
contains one or several buds. The bud sprouts under favourable conditions
gives rise to a primary stalk from which secondary stalk, thus inducing
Sugarcane stalk is composed of many distinct nodes and internodes.
It is above ground portion of the plant which bears leaves and flowers.
A small portion of the stalk is below ground which is called as rootstock.
The node is the base of the leaf. At each node there is a bud, sometimes
known as an 'eye' appearing on opposite sides of the cane. These buds
are protected by the leaf sheath, which is folded tightly around the
internode. Buds are presented in a longitudinal groove. Buds are shell
shaped. On the tip of the bud a germination pore is present through
which the sprouting shoot emerges.
The nodes have (i) root band with primordial root (ii) bud which is
characterstic to each variety (iii) a wax band below the node and (iv)
a growth ring above the node.
Immediately above each node, two or three translucent dot like structures
known as root primordia appear in root band. These root primordia give
rise to 'sett roots' as indicated earlier.
Just below the bud is a raised portion known as the leaf scar.
The internodes vary in shape, length and thickness depending upon
the variety and growth conditions.
Various internode shapes are-cylindrical, tumscent, bobbin shaped
conoidal, of conoidal and curved.
Sugarcane produces branches that grow from below the surface of the
The under ground portion of the stem tapers rapidly and from the
lateral buds of this region the shoots develop. These are called tillers.
Single cane may produce as many as 20 to 40 tillers depending upon
variety and environmental conditions.
The leaves of the cane plant grow alternately on opposite sides of
the cane stalk from the nodes.
Leaf of sugarcane consists of a sheath and the blade with the ligule
in between. The sheath is attached to the stalk by a basal ring and
completely clasps the stalk. It is normally a light green in colour.
The outer surface of sheath is often hairy.
The leaf blade is long, flat structure varying from one to one and
a half metres in length and 5 to 7 centimetre wide.
The colour of blade varies from yellowish-green to very dark green
depending on both the variety and nutritional status of the plant
The midrib is prominent with a groove on the upper surface.
The leaf edges are generally serrated.
The projection from the leaf sheath near the blade joint is the auricle,
which does not occur in some of the varieties.
At the junction of the sheath and blade there is a membraneous attachment
known as the ligule which bears long hairs.
Green with red blotches;
moderate to heavy bloom;
scarious border prominent;
sheath splitting occasional Clasping
Spines present on the middle of the sheath;
Transverse Mark: Purplish green; medium: fair bloom.
Ligule: Medium; Crescentiform; symmetrical; gradually tapering towards
the edges. Ligular Process: Indicated on one side.
Number: Abundant. Carriage: Younger leaves droop from
top one third and older leaves droop from the middle. Top : open.
The inflorescence of a sugarcane generally called the 'arrow' is an
open panicle. It is long (30 centimetre or more) and tapering.
The arrangement of the spikelets is racemose, that is, the oldest
flowers are at the bottom and the youngest at the top.
The flowers open in succession over a number of days.
Flowers have both male and female organs, but not all produce fertile
Some of the varieties have fertile pollens but they are usually small
and low vitality. Sugarcane usually flower at the age of ten. to twelve
months, but some varieties in north India do not flower at all. Due
to this fact cane has so long been propagated vegetatively by cuttings
of sugarcane. Cane produced from seed is not so vigorous, but it is
important for breeders.
Medium-thick; slightly staggered; slightly oval in cross section,
internal tissue yellow with purple tinge: rind hard; pith present as
Yellowish green with purple tinge; turning dark green on exposure
having red blotches; growth ring greenish yellow, root zone purplish
Cylindrical with a tendency to become conoidal; splits present; ivory
markings present; weather markings present; bud groove rather distinct;
moderate bloom throughout. Wax Band: Medium; constricted often merges
with the general bloom. Growth Ring: Medium; slightly swollen; occasionally
the growth ring width and root zone width ale found to be almost equal.
Root Zone: Narrow; slightly constricted; generally has two rows of staggered
Slightly depressed; leaf scar slightly inclned.
Medium, plumpy, ovate; occasionally hairs at the tip of the bud noticed;
inserted at leaf scar. Flange : Not prominent; arising from bottom one
third. Venation and Germpore : Nerves more; running parallel; converging
at the tip; germination apical.