Saccharum officinarum 'Ko honua ula' - Black Sugar Cane

"Red earth sugarcane" in Polynesian languague is one of the most beautiful cultivars of this useful crop. Stems and leaves grow in a in a wide range of hues, from purple to black, coated with a white shiny wax, increasing the black-and-white contrast.

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This black sugar cane from Hawaii is one of the most beautiful cultivars of this useful crop. Stems and leaves grow in a in a wide range of hues, from purple to black, varying as they age. Canes are also coated with a white shiny wax, increasing the black-and-white contrast. Canes are thin, smooth and glossy, with long internodes and can produce aerial roots in their lower nodes. More than 100 traditional cultivars of sugar cane existed in ancient Hawaii, but this black cultivar was one of the three types of sugarcanes used in traditional Hawaiian medicine.

Ko Honua Ula means "red earth sugarcane" in Polynesian languague. The alternate name Kō Niho Puhi means “eel’s tooth” sugarcane, owing to the sharp points of the auxiliary buds.


What are the differences between the Asian black cane Badila and the Hawaiian black cane Ko honua ula? In Badila, leaves are green and canes are rather short and straight and much thicker, even three times in diameter.  In Ko Honua Ula, leaves are green to dark purple and canes are slender and often arching, developing aerial roots in their lower nodes. Both cultivars will build canes with an incredible black colour with whitish waxy nodes, displaying an ornamental "zebra pattern". Modern research suggest that both of them originated in Papua New Guinea, which is the centre of domestication of sugar canes. Then the "Asian" cane was spread westwards while the "Hawaiian" was spread Eastwards.

All these "old" cultivars of that we grow are called "noble canes", as they are clones of "true" Saccharum officinarum, selected in New Guinea from the wild Saccharum robustum and then spread to SE Asia and the Pacific Islands. All sugarcanes were "noble canes" until the early XX century, when they were hybridized with Saccharum spontaneum, in order to increase sugar production and resistance. Hybrids replaced noble canes but now they are loved and planted for family use, because of their superior taste and ease of chewing.

Sugar Canes are 3-5 m tall tropical grasses that produces most of the world sugar. Saccharum officinarum grows in tropical to warm mediterranean climates. Canes can be peeled and eaten at any moment, they are best after blooming. Sugar cane is very fast growing in hot summer weather. Water and fertilize abundantly in summer! They bloom in late autumn or winter, and when they do it, they have the highest sugar contect. They are all hardy to light and short frosts, but some cultivars do better than others in cooler locations. If frosts are expected, protect the base with mulch and more .

Canarius offers a super thick 50 cm ready-to-sprout cutting. Cuttings are the best way to reproduce sugar cane, because they root easily and will give a plant exactly like the original mother plant. Our cuttings can be used as they are or they can be split in two or three smaller cuttings. They root better in a sandy and draining soil. Keep them moist and warm above 17 C. The best rooting temperature is 20-30 C.


Notice to the customers in the USA: We canot ship this species because it is not allowed in your country.

Cultivation Protected
Plant origin Oceania
Presentation Cuttings
Max. Size 250cm-300cm
Botanical family Poaceae
Light Sun
Minimum winter temperature 0 ºC to 15 ºC
Flowering Season Autumn
Plant type Herbaceous
Color Violet
Color Black
Care Pot
Shape Rhizomes
Important Notice-Due to our long experience as exporters and importers, we inform you that all orders arriving after 7 November 2022 will be shipped after the second week of January 2023, to avoid any possible loss or delay in delivery due to excessive Christmas parcel traffic