SACCHARUM L. Plumegrass
Plants hermaphroditic, caespitose or rhizomatous, perennial. Culms erect or ascending; internodes solid,
glabrous or hairy, terete; nodes glabrous. Leaves cauline, not distinctly distichous; sheaths terete,
margins connate; auricles present or absent; ligules membranous or a ciliate membrane; blades flat, linear,
lax, apex acuminate. Panicles of numerous racemose branches of various branching patterns, narrow or
contracted (dense), terminal, sheaths subtending the inflorescences not inflated and spathe-like; primary
branches usually rebranching, appressed; not aromatic; branches hairy; pedicels not with a longitudinal groove,
glabrous or hairy, terete or oval to flattened. Spikelets paired at each inflorescence node (ternate at
branch apex), similar in size and shape (dissimilar in amount of hairs), disarticulation below the glumes,
dorsiventrally compressed, sessile (or short pediceled) spikelets fertile, pedicellate (long
pediceled) spikelets fertile. Pedicellate spikelets well developed and fertile, awned or awnless.
Sessile spikelets fertile; first glumes weakly 2-keeled, gland-like depressions or pits not
present, abaxial surface flat, smooth, coriaceous, glabrous or hairy, awnless; second glumes length
equal to first glumes; lower florets sterile; lemmas membranous, apex entire, awnless; paleas present or absent,
hyaline; upper florets perfect; lemmas membranous , apex entire or bifid (acuminate to obtuse),
awned or awnless; paleas present or absent, hyaline. Stamens 3; anthers red or purple or brown. Caryopses
terete. The base chromosome number x=10.
A genus of about 33 species. Many of these species are adapted to temperate to subtropical areas.
Important genus in moist to wet habitats. Webster and Shaw (1995) revised the treatment of Saccharum (including
Erianthus) for North America.