Miscanthus

Miscanthus

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Miscanthus is a genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of about 15 species of perennial grasses
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

 native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, with one species (M. sinensis) extending north into temperate eastern Asia.

Selected species
  • Miscanthus floridulus
    Miscanthus floridulus
    Miscanthus floridulus is a species of perennial grass in a the Poaceae family....

  • Miscanthus giganteus
    Miscanthus giganteus
    Miscanthus giganteus is a large perennial spoon hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus native to Japan. It is currently used in the European Union as a commercial energy crop. It is used as a source of heat and electricity, or converted into biofuel products such as ethanol.-...

  • Miscanthus sacchariflorus
    Miscanthus sacchariflorus
    Miscanthus sacchariflorus is a grass native to temperate Asia. Culms are erect, 90–250 cm in height and 5–8 mm in diameter.- References :* * *...

    (Amur silver-grass)
  • Miscanthus sinensis
    Miscanthus sinensis
    Miscanthus sinensis Miscanthus sinensis Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese silver grass, Eulalia grass, maiden grass, zebra grass, Susuki grass, porcupine grass; syn. Eulalia japonica Trin., Miscanthus sinensis f. glaber Honda, Miscanthus sinensis var. gracillimus Hitchc., Miscanthus sinensis var....

  • Miscanthus tinctorius
  • Miscanthus transmorrisonensis

M. giganteus



The sterile hybrid between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus, Miscanthus giganteus
Miscanthus giganteus
Miscanthus giganteus is a large perennial spoon hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus native to Japan. It is currently used in the European Union as a commercial energy crop. It is used as a source of heat and electricity, or converted into biofuel products such as ethanol.-...

, has been trialed as a biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

 in Europe since the early 1980s. It can grow to heights of more than 3.5 m in one growth season. Its dry weight annual yield
Crop yield
In agriculture, crop yield is not only a measure of the yield of cereal per unit area of land under cultivation, yield is also the seed generation of the plant itself...

 can reach 25 tonnes per hectare (10 tonnes per acre). It is sometimes called "Elephant Grass" and thus confused with the African grass Pennisetum purpureum, also called "Elephant Grass."

The rapid growth, low mineral content, and high biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 yield of Miscanthus make it a favorite choice as a biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

. Miscanthus can be used as input for ethanol production, often outperforming corn and other alternatives in terms of biomass and gallons of ethanol produced. Additionally, after harvest, it can be burned to produce heat and steam for power turbines. In addition to the amount of CO2 emissions from burning the crop, any fossil fuels that might have been used in planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and processing the crop, as well as in transporting the biofuel to the point of use, must also be considered when evaluating its carbon load. Its advantage, though, is that it isn't usually consumed by humans, making it a more available crop for ethanol and biofuel, than, say, corn and sugar canes. When mixed in a 50%-50% mixture with coal, Miscanthus biomass can be used in some current coal-burning power plant
Fossil fuel power plant
A fossil-fuel power station is a power station that burns fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas or petroleum to produce electricity. Central station fossil-fuel power plants are designed on a large scale for continuous operation...

s without modifications.

M. sinensis


M. sinensis is cultivated as an ornamental plant
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

. In Japan, where it is known as susuki (すすき), it is considered an iconic plant of late summer and early autumn. It is mentioned in Man'yōshū (Vol 8 1538) as one of the seven autumn herbs (aki no nana kusa, 秋の七草). It is used for the eighth month in hanafuda
Hanafuda
are playing cards of Japanese origin that are used to play a number of games. The name literally translates as "flower cards". The name also refers to games played with those cards.-History:...

 playing cards. It is decorated with Bush clover for the Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival , also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people. A description of the festival first appeared in Rites of Zhou, a written collection of rituals of the Western Zhou...

. Miscanthus has also excellent fiber
Fiber
Fiber is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together....

 properties for paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

making.

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