Is Sugarcane a fruit or a Vegetable?

Welcome back, friends. A friend of mine has asked me something that looks but actually it’s not. He questioned me about the classification of Sugarcane. His 4-year-old son is in Kindergarten. Most probably this was his query that I have to solve. His actual question was- Is Sugarcane a Fruit or a Vegetable? – Nope, It is neither a Fruit nor a Vegetable!

Interesting, Isn’t it! What is your opinion about Sugarcane?

Is Sugarcane fruit or Vegetable
Is Sugarcane a fruit or a Vegetable?

Check out my Previous Post: Pineapple Sage: How to Grow and care Salvia Elegans?

What is sugarcane?

Just for the facts- Sugarcane is a very Important Cash crop. The cultivation of cane sugar governs the national assets of several countries.

Biologically, Sugar cane is a member of the Poaceae family. It is one of the largest grass families. The scientific Name of Sugar cane is ‘Saccharum officinarum‘.

Brazil, India, China, and Thailand are the Four main Producers of Sugarcane. Collectively they produce 70% of the World’s total Sugarcane every year. Brazil alone produces 39% of sugarcane.

It is a native plant of tropical and subtropical countries. The wild varieties of sugar cane are more likely reed-like grass. The average length of those varieties was 5-7 feet and their thickness was about 1-2.5 inches in diameter. This is much lower than some of the modern cultivars of Sugar cane.

Today scientists have developed many varieties of sugar cane for high yield and better disease resistance.

Common Name: Sugar cane or cane Sugar
Botanical/ Scientific name: Saccharum officinarum
Family: Poaceae
Native Climate: Tropical and Subtropical climate
Largest Producers: Brazil, India, China, Thailand
Average Size: 7-10 feet long and 2-3 inches in diameter
Propagation: Vegetative Propagation Through Root nodes
Soil Type: Black soil. The soil must be soft, Highly nutritious, and well-drained.
Water Requirement: Low to moderate Watering required. Sugarcane needs moist soil but it cannot tolerate any waterlogging.
Temperature and Sunlight: High heat, Abundant air moisture, and Full sunlight are required for growing sugarcane.

Is Sugar a fruit?

No, definitely not. Sugarcane is not a fruit. It can’t be. According to the definition, the fruit must be associated with a flower and possess some seed. Both of which are not true in the case of sugarcane.

Although Cane sugar can grow flowers, it is of no use to us. Only very old and mature plants can produce flowers. By that time the cane must have lost its sweet taste. Hence, flowering cane sugar is of no commercial or culinary use.

Sugar cane even produces grain-like seeds. Most of which are infertile. They can’t grow back into new cane sugar plants.

The part we consume or technically, use is the tubular grass stem. If you like to buy some of these then check out the giant Sugarcane seeds on Amazon.

Is sugarcane grass?

It is a fact that Sugarcane is a Grass. Saccharum officinarum is the scientific name of Sugar cane. It belongs to the grass family- Poaceae. It is a single branched tubular grass.

Sugar cane looks like a miniature form of Bamboo. Both of them are grass. Sugar cane is a tropical grass variety. It is a slow-growing grass. It can take more than 5 years in the wild to mature and bloom. This is not necessary for commercial farming.

Is sugarcane fruit or vegetable?

Technically, sugar can not be a fruit. We have already discussed that it doesn’t have any flowers or seeds. In fact, we consume the plant itself. Only the tubular stem of the grass body is collected to extract the sweet juice.

The leaves and their roots were discarded. So It is clear that sugar cane is not a fruit. Now the next quest is- can we consider cane sugar a vegetable?

Interesting Isn’t it? It s true that we consume the plant itself. It is directly related to culinary use but there is something wrong with this classification.

Is sugar cane a vegetable?

No, Sugar cane is not a vegetable. Whaaat?…. Is your reaction the same?

Don’t worry I will explain that. We only collect the tubular stem structure f sugar cane grass. It is crushed and the sweet juice is extracted. The whole drained part is then used for composting or ethanol production.

In this whole process, we don’t consume any part of the sugar cane plant. It’s just the sweet juice that is extracted to produce white sugar. The extracted sugar is used for many culinary and industrial use but it is not the plant itself. So we cannot consider sugar cane as a vegetable.

The cane sugar plant propagates itself by the vegetative propagation method. We use node cutting with eyes or buds to grow new sugar cane plants.

These tubular pieces can be used to grow new plants. We can also chew and suck the sweet juice from this stem. But we cannot cook it, eat it, or even digest it. So Technically Sugarcane is neither a fruit nor a vegetable.


This discussion makes the facts clear. We have learned that sugarcane is Grass. The part we consume is the sugarcane stem. It is neither a fruit nor a vegetable. Technically Sugarcane is a Tubular grass of the Poaceae family. It is an important cash crop. Brazil is the highest producer and exporter of Cane Sugar. Also Read: How to Care for a Gomphrena Plant?

What do you think now-Is sugarcane fruit or vegetable? Write down in the comment section.

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Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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