When a sugarcane plant has reached a relatively mature stage of development, its growing point may, under certain photoperiod and soil moisture conditions, change from the vegetative to reproductive stage.
This means the growing point ceases forming leaf primordia and starts the production of an inflorescence. It is a short day plant. Its photoperiodic conditions can thus be attained largely in the tropics.
The inflorescence, or tassel, of sugarcane is an open-branched panicle .It is also known as arrow. Therefore flowering is also known as "arrowing". Each tassel consists of several thousand tiny flowers, each capable of producing one seed. The seeds are extremely small and weigh approximately 250 per gram or 113,500 per pound.
For commercial sugarcane production,inflorescence
development is of little economic importance. Flowering is important for crossing and producing hybrid varieties.
Generally, a day length close to 12.5 hours and night temperatures between 20° to 25°c will induce floral initiation. Optimum growth conditions in the vegetative phase (fertile soil, abundant supply of nitrogen and moisture) restrict inflorescence while stress conditions induce formation of blossoms.