Sugarcane vs Bamboo. What is the difference?

Sugarcane vs Bamboo. What is the difference?

Sugarcane can grow up to 10 feet tall, while bamboo can grow up to 160 feet tall. Sugarcane is harvested and processed to produce sugar, molasses, rum, and ethanol. Bamboo is used for building materials, furniture, paper products and others.

Are sugarcane and bamboo related?

Well yes. Both sugarcane and bamboo are classified as a type of grass and both are perennials. But that is about it. They don’t really share many similarities beyond this.

While both sugarcane and bamboos are of the grass family, sugarcane is mainly composed of sugar and bamboo produces more cellulose than sugar.

Cellulose is the main substance found in plant cell walls and helps the plant to remain stiff and strong.

Additionally, bamboo culms are hollow while sugarcane stalks are solid. This is a very big difference because it ultimately determines how they are used.

Bamboo, with its hard and woody stalks, is used for building houses, furniture, and other things. Bamboo has many different uses, which makes it an economically viable alternative to other types of materials like metal or plastic.

Sugarcane is grown primarily for its sweet juice. In fact, it is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world. Sugarcane was first domesticated in India and China thousands of years ago.

Sugarcane plants with their high sugar content, are often harvested to make sugar, ethanol fuel, or even alcohol like Rum. Sugarcane is not as versatile as bamboo because it only produces one product – sugar.

Bamboo Scaffolding

Growing conditions

Sugar cane is a tropical plant that grows in hot and humid climates.

It needs plenty of water and has to be harvested by hand because it cannot be cut down with machines like other types of crops.

The growing conditions for the sugarcane plant are very extreme because it needs lots of water to grow.

On the other hand, bamboo plants are very resilient. They can grow anywhere, even in soil that most plants would die in. In fact, bamboo is so resilient that sometimes they grow in places you least expect.

Bamboo grows much faster than sugarcane. It can grow up to 35 inches per day, while sugarcane grows at a rate of about 1 centimeter per day.

Related: Guinness World Records: Fastest growing plant

Environmental Impact

Bamboo has a lower environmental impact than sugarcane. Bamboo is a more efficient carbon sink than sugarcane, meaning that it absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Bamboo also requires less water and fertilizer than sugarcane. It also does not require irrigation. Sugarcane is a crop that requires pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation.

Who’s taller?

When it comes to comparing length, bamboo is the ultimate winner. On average, bamboos grow to around 30 feet tall. The current world record for the tallest bamboo stands at 164 feet.

Related: Guinness World Records: Tallest bamboo

A sugarcane plant can grow to around 12 feet tall depending on its variety and the type of soil it is grown. The tallest sugarcane ever recorded reached a height of 41.12 feet, far cry from bamboo.

Not that similar right?

Bamboo and sugarcane may share similar characteristics in terms of their classification and even their shape but they are different in almost every other way. Bamboos are grown for a variety of reasons, while sugarcane is almost always grown for – well… their sugar.


Does sugarcane spread like bamboo?

Sugarcane has been reported to be invasive in French Polynesia, Guam, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and many other tropical locales. Sugarcane spreads by sending out underground runners, which are called rhizomes. The rhizomes grow horizontally underground and send up shoots that become new plants.


Is sugarcane stronger than bamboo?

No. Sugarcane is not as sturdy and requires less force to break apart than bamboo. Bamboo is a much stronger material than sugarcane. However, the yield from bamboo is lower than the yield from sugarcane and requires more water.

1 Comment

  1. Carlo Jann Del Carmen

    Why attach non-bamboo to a labelled bamboo scaffold image?

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