Let's briefly compare a purple sugarcane variety with a green variety. The purple one is the regular sugarcane you'll often see at grocery stores. The green one is the dwarf version in the sugarcane family–often used to sweeten drinks or herbal tea.
Here they are:
The purple cane has a much thicker and bigger stem than the green one. Its diameter is about twice as big.
Because of this, the purple's buds are also considerably larger than the green's ones.
Texture & Taste
Regarding texture, the purple variety is softer than the green one. It's easier to bite into and chew. Because the green one is a bit harder to chew or press, it is not widely sold or used for juicing.
The purple is sweet. It may remind you of the taste of most sugarcane juice. The green however is a hint or two sweeter. It's a very unique sweet taste–the kind that when you taste it, you instantly know it's this variety. When used in herbal tea, it smells fantastic.
One common feature I notice with both of these two is the zigzag stem structure. It's not one-way straight up but kind of leaning to one side then the other as it's growing up.
From my limited experience, it seems that the purple one grows a lot faster than the green variety. It develops roots faster and the buds grow up quicker.
The green however sucks up a lot of water. It's small but it's mighty. Although the purple one is big, it does not seem to drink up as fast or as much.
Responses to Readers' Questions
Explain the cause of red, blue or purple color in sugarcane
--> Thanks for your query. To be honest, I really don't know what the cause is for the outside stem color. If you mean the red mark inside the cane, then possibly maybe it's some kind of disease or infection. I see it happen in the green variety:
Another more prominent one:
For the purple variety, inside the top leaves you may see some red stripes. Some people call it rust. The yellow thing inside is actually the sugarcane fiber spit out by some insects. It may have been invaded by them.
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