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purple cane seeds

Purple cane seeds

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Purple Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane is medium to large in size, growing up six meters in height, and averages 3-5 centimeters in diameter with elongated stems and long, pointed leaves. The cylindrical stems have an outer layer that is smooth, hard, inedible, dark red-purple, and has white growth rings or joints that divide the stem into segments of different sizes ranging from 10-25 centimeters apart. The interior of the stem is pale gold, firm, juicy, woody, and fibrous. Sugar Cane offers a sweet and starchy taste with a raw vanilla flavor.


Sugar Cane is available year-round in tropical climates and in the late summer through fall in climates with colder winters.

Current Facts

Sugar Cane, botanically classified as Saccharum officinarum, is a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family along with rice, sorghum, and wheat. Sugar Cane is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops and is a source of commercial sucrose, which is extracted by crushing the stem. The plant thrives in warm, tropical climates across the world and is favored by chefs and home cooks for its fibrous flesh and sweet, sugary liquid. There are many different varieties of Sugar Cane that range in appearance from white, green, to purple. Also known as the Purple Ribbon Sugar Cane, the Purple Sugar Cane depicted in the photo above is considered a “noble” variety and was created through back-crossing with a natural hybrid of black cheribon.

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Nutritional Value

Sugar Cane is an excellent source of calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It is also a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C and B, and antioxidants.


Sugar Cane is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as boiling. The flesh is chewed as a sweet treat to extract the juice, and then the fibrous cane is discarded. The stem can also be pressed to make cane juice or boiled to make pure cane syrup and raw sugar crystals. In addition to boiling and syrup production, Sugar Cane can be cut, sliced, and used as skewers for beverages, fruit kabobs, shrimp, meats, or on tray passed hors d’oeurves. It can also be used to make ice cream and cocktails. Sugar Cane pairs well with raspberries, pineapple, lime, cinnamon, plantains, peanuts, shrimp, fish, poultry, and steak. The stems will keep up to two weeks when wrapped whole, placed in a plastic bag, and stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. They can also be frozen up to three months.

Ethnic/Cultural Info

The Purple Sugar Cane of today is not the original plant that was once found growing along the lush coast of Georgia in the United States. Around the turn of the 20th century, most of the sugar cane varieties growing in the American south were killed off by disease. Due to the loss of the plant, the culinary culture in the South also suffered because many of the traditional dishes were centered around the use of Sugar Cane and its distinct flavoring. In 2014, Purple Sugar Cane got a resurgence thanks to a partnership between Clemson University and a small, coastal Georgia family farm. Researchers and botanists worked to find a more disease resistant hybrid, using both cultivated and wild varieties. With the selection of a “noble” variety, which is a variety back-bred with an ancient variety, the sugar cane industry in the United States was saved, and traditional recipes for molasses and syrup were reintroduced using the plant.


Sugar Cane is believed to be native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia and was first domesticated in New Guinea around 8,000 BCE. It then spread to India and Oceania through immigration of emerging civilizations, and in 715 CE, Sugar Cane was established in the Middle East, Egypt, and later the Mediterranean via the crusades. Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced Sugar Cane to the new world between 1400-1500 CE, and the plant became widely popular due to the warm climate and available land for cultivation. Today Sugar Cane is cultivated in tropical climates around the world, especially in Mexico, Thailand, Pakistan, China, India, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Florida, and can be found at local markets and specialty grocers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

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Recipe Ideas

Recipes that include Purple Sugar Cane. One is easiest, three is harder.

Epicure Asia Purple Sugarcane Lamb Shank with Purple Butter Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus
A Spicy Perspective Pineapple Sugarcane Water

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Produce Sharing allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.

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How to Grow Purple Heart

Jennifer Lesser is a New Jersey-based freelance writer covering health/fitness, family/parenting, business, and lifestyle. She has over 16 years of experience writing for various outlets including Time Out NY and Parenting

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The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida) is aptly named, because its iconic purple stems grow beautiful blooms that range from violet to pink. However, despite its unique blooms, many gardeners choose this plant for its foliage, which is particularly vibrant. Both the stems and upper surfaces of the leaves appear to be deep royal purple but may also contain lighter shades of turquoise-gray that become darker as the foliage grows older. A plant will bloom with three-petaled pink flowers in small clusters throughout the warm season.

Considered an easy-to-grow evergreen perennial, the purple heart plant can add a pop of gorgeous purple color to your garden year after year. However, its aggressive root system helps it spread quickly as a ground cover. The plant is not considered invasive in the United States, but it is elsewhere in the world. It’s a member of the spiderwort family, which grows in both tropical and temperate regions and includes hundreds of species.

Widely commercialized as a house plant as well as for outdoor gardens, the T. pallida (sometimes also called T. purpurea) is long-jointed, sprawling, and an ideal ground cover plant for anyone who loves a purple garden. Let it naturally spring back to life after the frost, or plant in the spring for summer sprawl.

Botanical Name Tradescantia pallida
Common Name Purple heart
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size N/A (vining plant)
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Lightweight, moist, well-drained
Soil pH 6-8
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Purple
Hardiness Zones 7 to 10 (USDA)
Native Area Mexico
Toxicity Toxic to humans and pets

Purple Heart Care

Purple heart is often referred to as a “creeping perennial” due to the fact that it will spread out as it grows. Purple heart is considered to have a fairly fast rate of growth, especially when compared to other indoor plants. Its flowers will die off in the winter months.

Potential gardeners should be aware that purple heart flowers are known to form dense ground cover, which can prevent the germination and establishment of other plants. However, the plants can add a lush and tropical ground cover texture to any landscape. Downward trailing stems mean it will always stand out, even when planted as part of border fronts, wall plantings, and rock gardens.