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Dixie Signalgrass Urochloa ramosa

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Brachiaria ramosa
  • Panicum ramosum
Description

Browntop millet is a warm season annual weedy grass in the Poaceae (grass) family.  It is a plant that is native to the tropics and has spread all across the southeastern U.S.A.  In its native India it is often cultivated as a grain and a forage crop.  The grain is also used as a birdseed.

It can be found growing in fields, corn fields, and waste sites. Its primary use is as a forage crop for domestic animals and game animals and birds such as deer, turkey, duck, dove, quail, rabbit and pheasant. With ideal conditions provided, germination can occur within 5 days and the rapidly growing crop can be harvested in two months.  Its fine stems and leaves allow the plant to dry sufficiently to create a dry hay product.  

It is also grown as a nurse crop, that is a crop that is planted to assist the establishment of a perennial crop such as grasses that may take a longer period of time to become established, especially on slopes.  Its reseeding and long term viability also makes this an affordable regenerating food source for wildlife.  

Used in remediation projects, Browntop millet accumulates significant amounts of zinc and lead from the soil.  The end product will store these minerals for easy removal.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Army worms and grasshoppers are common insect problems.  Self seeding can be an issue that needs to be monitored to prevent it from taking over and causing harvesting of the companion crops.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#annuals#wildlife plant#weedy#ducks#erosion control#warm-season grass#acidic soils tolerant#short lifespan#forage#short-lived perennials
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#annuals#wildlife plant#weedy#ducks#erosion control#warm-season grass#acidic soils tolerant#short lifespan#forage#short-lived perennials
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Urochloa
    Species:
    ramosa
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is sometimes cultivated for birdseed or used as a cereal grain.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Africa, tropical and subtropical Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Provides habitat and food for wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Perennial
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Caryopsis
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a grain.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves attach to the stem via sheathing. The
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Its spreading stems usually root at the nodes.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Problems:
    Weedy