The Sugar Cane.
A kind of reed, native of the East and West Indies, of the Canary islands, and of some other places; and cultivated in all our plantations. It is eight or ten feet high. The stalk is round, hollow, hard, jointed, and upright; it is very like that of a common reed, only so much thicker. The leaves are like those of the reed, but vastly larger; and the flowers are in the same manner, dry, brown, and chaffy, but the cluster of them is a yard long; the roots are long, creeping, and jointed in the manner of the stalk. In very hot countries the sugar will sweat out at the cracks of the stalks, and stand in form of a bright powder; this is native sugar, and is what the antients meant when they talked of honey growing upon reeds. We press out the juice, and boil it to the consistence of brown sugar, which is afterwards refined, and becomes the white powder or loaf-sugar.
It were idle to talk of the virtues of sugar, its uses are sufficiently known, and are very great.