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Grain Sorghum Sorghum bicolor

Previously known as:

  • Hyparrhenia dichroa
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Known by numerous common names which depend on its location, sorghum is a crop grass native to Africa in the Poaceae (grass) family. It has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in southern Africa regions.   It grows all over the world and is known for its ability to grow in drought laden poor soils.   They prefer highly fertile moist soils with good drainage.   It is grown as an annual in cooler hardiness zones and as a perennial in temperate Zones 9 through 12.

Several varieties of sorghum bicolor exist.  Grain sorghum is used for food while grass sorghum is grown for use as animal feed.  Broomcorn, as the name indicates, is used for making brooms.  White sorghum is sweet and most used as a grain crop.  Red sorghum used in the prodcution of beer, has a less sweet taste that makes it undesirable to birds.  

Typically an annual, some varieties are classified as perennials.  Included in the species of Sorghum bicolor are cultivated varieties as well as semi-wild weedy plants.  The wild varieties have a ring of long hairs at the nodes.  Their spreading branches are whorled.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids, American bollworm, and borer are common insects. Commonly affected by fungus, bacteria, and nematodes, these diseases can easily spread to crops.  Birds and rodents are attracted to the seed heads, and can become a nuisance. It is  aggressive, rapid growing and can outcompete other plants. 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#edible plant#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#warm-season grass#wind pollinated#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#problem for horses#shade intolerant#problem for cattle#grass
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#edible plant#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#warm-season grass#wind pollinated#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#problem for horses#shade intolerant#problem for cattle#grass
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sorghum
    Species:
    bicolor
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The grain can be used to make ethanol. Used as cattle and poultry feed. Its stalks can be used as building material or to make brooms.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Africa
    Distribution:
    Worldwide
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds and small mamals are attracted to the seeds.
    Edibility:
    A grain that is used for human and livestock. It can be cooked like rice. It can also be ground into a flour. The grain from sorghum is gluten-free and is typically ground into a meal that is used for bread, porridge, and cakes.  Processing the grain will help to dissipate its strong taste.  It can also be used in the production of oils, starch, dextrose and even alcoholic drinks.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Vegetable
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Columnar
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Edible seeds ripen from September-October and vary in color from white through shades of red and brown to pale yellow to deep purple-brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Wind pollinated flowers appear from August to October. Growing in the form of 6" to 20" panicles, each flower cluster can produce 800 to 3,000 kernels.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Waxy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Floppy leaf blades grow along the entire length of each stem. They are located underneath the flower panicles. The upper side of the leaf is a darker green than the underside. The underside has a dull appearance.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Grows as a solitary or tufted leafy stem that is covered by sheaths.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, headache, loss of appetite, restlessness. Consumption of an immature plant is poisonous to both humans and animals.  This toxic nature can increase when the plant is exposed to frost, drought, or trampling.  If consumed in excess quantities, it can cause respiratory distress and death.  The poisonous substances found in immature plants are destroyed once the plant has dried or converted to food for animal consumption.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Hydrogen cyanide and hordenine.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Stems