The view, often repeated, that the saccharum of the ancients is the hydrate of silica, sometimes found in bamboos and known in Arabian medicine as tabashir, is refuted by Yule, Anglo-Indian Glossary, p. 654; see also Not.
Kalo (Colocasia antiquorum, var., esculenta), which furnishes the principal food of the natives, and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), the cultivation of which has become the chief industry of the islands, were introduced before the discovery of the group by Captain Cook in 1778.
This is soon impregnated with the seeds of the Saccharum spontaneum and other grasses that have been partly brought by the winds and partly deposited by the water.
In the sugar-cane (Saccharum) and several allied genera the separating joints of the axis bear long hairs below the spikelets; in others, as in Arundo (a reed-grass), the flowering glumes are enveloped in long hairs.
Miscanthus and Erianthus, nearly allied to Saccharum, are tall reed-like grasses, with large silky flower-panicles, which are grown for ornament.