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For other uses, see Cane (disambiguation).
A thin, flexible cane designed for corporal punishment.

Cane is either of two genera of tall, perennial grasses with flexible, woody stalks from different tribes of the family Poaceae, that grow throughout the world.[citation needed] The genus Arundo (tribe Arundineae) is native from the Mediterranean region to the Far East. The genus Arundinaria is a bamboo (tribe Bambuseae) found in the New World. Neither genus includes sugarcane (genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae).

Cane commonly grows in large riparian stands known as canebrakes, found in toponyms throughout the Southern and Far Western United States; they are much like the tules of California.

Depending on strength, cane can be fashioned for various purposes, including walking sticks, crutches, Judicial canes, or school canes. Where canes are used in corporal punishment, they must meet particular specifications, such as a high degree of flexibility. Cane historically has been used for many other purposes such as baskets, furniture, boats, roofs and wherever stiff, withy sticks can be put to good use.

A Giant Canebrake (Arundo donax)


English "cane" derives from biblical Hebrew Qana, which is also used for the beam of a "balance" (Isaiah 46:6), "a staff of reed" (i.e., a walking-stick, Isaiah 36:6 and Ezekiel 29:6), and the "branches" of a candlestick (Exodus 37:18).[1] Most famously, the word appears in Ezekiel as the measuring "rod" used on the prophet Ezekiel's visionary temple, and in Revelation, where it is used to measure the New Jerusalem.

Other uses[edit]

A Cherokee river cane basket.

Cane is used for a variety of artistic and practical purposes, such as Native American baskets of North America. During the 18th and early 19th century, non-commissioned officers in some European armies could carry canes to discipline troops (when not in use, the cane was hooked to a cross-belt or a button). Cane is used to describe furniture made of wicker. Cane also describes a length of colored, patterned glass rod used in caneworking, a style of glassblowing.

Canes are used in regional folk-dancing and as props on stage. For example, folk-dancers may twirl canes overhead, stand them on the head, spin them off to the sides, or strike them on the floor.[2]

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