Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) is a very tall, tropical grass which can grow as high as 23 ft (7 m), most likely derived from wild plants that grew in marshes in India. The stems or canes of this species can be as thick as 2 in (5 cm), and they have a sweet pith that typically contains 20% of a sugar known as sucrose. The concentration of sugar varies greatly during the life cycle but is greatest when the cane is flowering, so this is when the harvest typically occurs. Sugar cane is propagated by planting sections of stems with at least one node, known as cuttings.
Sugar cane is grown widely in the subtropics and tropics; for example, in southern Florida, Cuba, and Brazil. Most of the harvest is manufactured into refined sucrose, or table sugar. Increasingly, however, sugar cane is used to manufacture alcohol as a fuel for vehicles.