Canes turn pale yellow and become tough when they are ready to cut. The sugar is derived from the thick sap that fills the hollows of canes.
Habit - Plant forms clumps of canes with long graceful lanceolate light green leaves. The stems are attractive purple/maroon colour if the leaves are stripped back. Stems are made up of short internodes.
Size - 3 – 8 metres tall. Tending to be smaller in cooler climates. Stems or canes are 2.5 – 7cm thick.
Pollination - Insignificant flowers on feathery spikelets. Self-fertile.
Harvest - The hard juicy stems can be harvested 12 – 20 months after planting. The plant's rhizome will continue to crop for 3 -5 years.
Canes are cut close to the ground as the base of the stem contains the most sugar. The leaves are stripped off and the canes are cut into shorter lengths. On a small scale the canes can be crushed in a mangle or old printing press. You do need a lot of pressure. This may need to be done a few times.