Reed zvichayna – common reed

communis); southern cane; the family of Thin-legged (Roaceae), or Cereals (Gramineae); common reed


This essay will be about a plant that has no medicinal properties, but, despite this, is widely known. People have long used it for various needs.

Common cane, or southern cane, is a rhizome perennial that reaches a height of 6 (usually 3.5-4) m. The stem of the plant is straight, strong, crowned with a panicled inflorescence of multi-flowered spikelets. The leaves are located throughout the stem, grayish-green, rough, linear-lanceolate, pointed. Inflorescences are up to 40 cm long and 5-12 cm wide. The cane blooms, depending on the place of growth, in late June – July. It reproduces mainly vegetatively, by rhizomes. The plant is distributed all over the world, except for the Arctic and Antarctic, it grows on the shores of lakes, rivers, swamps, shallow waters and floodplains; tolerates soil salinity and occurs in salt marshes.

First of all, cane is interesting as a food plant, its young, ungreen shoots are rich in sugar. They are eaten raw, mashed, added to salads, stewed with meat, and made into soups. The most valuable for food use is the long fleshy rhizome of cane, which contains starch (over 50%), carbohydrates (up to 15%) and fiber (up to 32%). The maximum amount of these substances in the rhizome is found in late autumn and early spring. The rhizomes are eaten raw, baked and fried; they taste delicate and sweet.

In famine years and periods of prolonged crop failure, the cane rhizomes were dug up, dried, and ground into flour, which was added in large quantities to wheat or rye (up to 90% by weight). However, long-term use of such bread (apparently due to the high fiber content of cane flour) caused undesirable consequences: abdominal bloating, heaviness and pain. A method of separating starch from coarse fiber has not yet been invented. Roasted and ground rhizomes are used as a substitute for coffee.

Cane is used in agriculture as a fodder plant. In the raw form, the stems are rough, but after ensiling, cattle eat them willingly.

In forestless areas, cane is used as a building material and fuel. In some countries, this plant, containing up to 45% pure cellulose, is used as a raw material for paper production.

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