There is a lot of underutilized vegetable in Indonesia. Who doesn’t know sugarcane? One of the most important plants in the world. Sugarcane trunks are sweet because they contain sugar. One of the wild sugarcane species in Indonesia was once famous for its edible flowers. The name is Saccharum edule. Possibly native from Indonesia and in the past, the flowers were common as vegetable or eat raw/fresh.

However, currently, Turubuk’s popularity has started to decline and become an underutilized vegetable in Indonesia. There are several factors that cause it. Starting from the increasing variety of cultivated vegetables that have tastes and aromas that are more acceptable to the market, to the decreasing interest of people to cultivate them. So that currently, Turubuk is only a cultivated plant in a few places.

Wild Sugarcane

Turubuk (Saccharum edule) has a shape similar to sugar cane. It has a segmented stem and a reddish-green stem, elongated leaves, and a plant height like sugar cane in general. The stem also has a sweet taste, although it’s not as sweet as sugar cane. Turubuk flowers are in the terminal shoots that appear when the plant has entered the generative phase. The flower part is generally as a vegetable or eaten raw/fresh (Lalab).

Underutilized vegetable In Indonesia

Turubuk flower texture is very soft and spongy, like tofu. Others claim that Turubuk flowers are similar to egg whites. This is why Turubuk also often gets the title of egg sugarcane. There are also some people who call it wax sugarcane because the flower shape is yellowish-white and elongated like wax. Turubuk flowers also have a crumbly texture so they crumble easily.


  • Kingdom : Plantae
  • Super Division: Spermatophyta
  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Liliopsida
  • Sub Class: Commelinidae
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Genus: Sacharum
  • Species: saccharum edule Hassk

Local Names

As underutilized vegetable in Indonesia, Turubuk has many local names: Tobu Bunga (Simalungun), Sayor Lilin (Manado), Trubu Vegetable (Maluku), Těbu Tělor, Tubu Tělor Ikan (Maluku), Tobu Flower (Lampung), Tiwu Turubus, Turubus (Sunda), Těbu Endog (Java), Bambiada ( Talaud), Bĕmbiadě (Sangihe), Tebiyane (Buru), Dodilibu (North Halmahera), Idawaho (Ternate), Dolawaho (Tidore).

Origin And Distribution

From some literature, the origin of Turubuk is unknown. Some literature also mentions that probably Turubuk been derived from the wild Saccharum which is also considered as one of the possible ancestors of sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L.). Nowadays, Turubuk can still be found scattered in Java and Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua.

Underutilized vegetable In Indonesia1


Turubuk is a plant that grows in clumps, has segmented stems, leaf midribs are small and elongated like sugar cane, but the diameter of the trunk is smaller and the taste is not as sweet as sugar cane. Height can reach 3-4 meters.

Plants that are already large (about 5-6 months) will produce 1 ready-to-harvest flower that has a texture and shape like a yellowish cylindrical fish egg lump measuring between 5-12 cm which is located at the end of the stem which looks bigger and fuller and still covered 3-4 young leaf midribs and no longer visible new leaves that are rolled up like a stick. This flower will be used for mixed vegetables such as Lodeh (vegetable recipe mix with coconut milk), soups, curries, etc. Stem cuttings diameter between 4-6 cm. Length 20-30 cm (3-4 internodes).

Underutilized vegetable in Indonesia2
One of recipe from Turubuk

Apart from Indonesia, Turubuk generally grows in the tropics to the islands in the Pacific. In fact, although it is an underutilized vegetable in Indonesia, people in several islands in the Pacific also use Turubuk as a vegetable. Turubuk will grow optimally at an elevation of about 2,000 meters above sea level. However, this Turubuk can still grow in the middle plains with an altitude of 400-800 masl. The correct temperature for growth is 20 – 30 ° c.


  • Teguh Husodo et. al., 2018. Diversity of neglected and underutilized crop species (NUCS) at Rancabuaya, South Garut West Java: potentially as human food. Biodiversity International Journal Vol. 2, Issue 4, 2018
  • Saraswati et., al.. 2013. The Diversity and Cultivation System of Saccharum edule L. and Its Role as an Edible Plant Source in Papua, Indonesia. Acta Hort. 979, ISHS 2013
Categories: Edible

Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses


Ravend chand · November 8, 2021 at 12:56 am

Do you know how I can import this in USA. Any leads about a seller in Indonesia ??

    Muryanto Paiman · November 8, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Chand,
    unfortunately, here in Indonesia, the plant is also rare. Only in some regions, we can found it.
    Best Regards

      Ravend chand · December 4, 2021 at 10:57 am

      Paiman, do you know anyone growing in Indonesia??. Can you get someone to ship cutting so I can grow it here in USA ??. I will pay for shipping charge.

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