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This article is about the plant genus. For the principal modern crop species, see Sorghum bicolor. For other crop uses, see Commercial sorghum. For other uses, see Sorghum (disambiguation).
Sorghum bicolor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Sorghum

About 30 species, see text

Sorghum is a genus of grasses with about 30 species, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants, either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warm climates worldwide. They are native to the tropics and subtropics of the Old World and one species is endemic to Mexico; a number have been introduced into other parts of the world.[1] Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae and the tribe of Andropogoneae (the tribe of big bluestem and sugar cane).

Cultivation and uses[edit]

A sorghum field in Central America

One species, Sorghum bicolor,[2] native to Africa with many cultivated forms now,[3] is an important crop worldwide, used for food (as grain and in sorghum syrup or "sorghum molasses"), fodder, the production of alcoholic beverages, and biofuels. Most varieties are drought- and heat-tolerant, and are especially important in arid regions, where the grain is one of the staples for poor and rural people. These varieties form important components of pastures in many tropical regions. Sorghum bicolor is an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia and is the "fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world".[4]

Some species of sorghum can contain levels of hydrogen cyanide, hordenine and nitrates lethal to grazing animals in the early stages of the plant's growth. When stressed by drought or heat, plants can also contain toxic levels of cyanide and/or nitrates at later stages in growth.[5]

Another Sorghum species, Johnson grass (S. halapense), is classified as an invasive species in the US by the Department of Agriculture.[6]


Sorghum vulgare var. technicum is commonly called broomcorn.[7] An annual grass like other Sorghums, it grows 6 to 15 feet tall, although dwarf varieties are only 3 to 7 feet in height. The upper peduncle is normally 8 to 18 in long, topped by a branched inflorescence or panicle, from which the seed-bearing fibers originate. The fibers are usually 12 to 24 inches long but can be up to 36 inches long; they are branched toward the tip where the flowers and seed grow. The seeds number about 30,000/pound, with feed value similar to oats. A ton of the fibrous panicle makes 900 to 1200 brooms.[7]

Plants selected for long panicle branches probably originated in central Africa, but the variety was known to be used for broom-making in the Mediterranean in the Dark Ages. It was first described in Italy in the late 1500s.[7]



  • Sorghum × almum
  • Sorghum × drummondii

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=130722
  2. ^ Mutegi, Evans; Fabrice Sagnard, Moses Muraya, Ben Kanyenji, Bernard Rono, Caroline Mwongera, Charles Marangu, Joseph Kamau, Heiko Parzies, Santie de Villiers, Kassa Semagn, Pierre Traoré, Maryke Labuschagne (2010-02-01). "Ecogeographical distribution of wild, weedy and cultivated Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench in Kenya: implications for conservation and crop-to-wild gene flow". Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 57 (2): 243–253. doi:10.1007/s10722-009-9466-7. 
  3. ^ http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200026333
  4. ^ Sorghum, U.S. Grains Council.
  5. ^ Cyanide (prussic acid) and nitrate in sorghum crops - managing the risks. Primary industries and fisheries. Queensland Government. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_20318.htm. 21 April 2011.
  6. ^ Johnson Grass, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Accessed 2257 UDT, 12 March, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Broomcorn, Alternative Field Crops Manual, Purdue University, Accessed 14 Mar 2011.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorghum — Please support Wikipedia.
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2935 news items

Coleman News

Coleman News
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:00:00 -0700

COLEMAN — Sugarcane aphids have been identified on sorghum in San Saba and Coleman counties, marking the first time the insect has been found west of Interstate-35, according to Dr. Charles Allen, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide ...


Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:26:15 -0700

The beginning of the harvest season is cause for celebration for small-scale sorghum farmers and for the Smallholders Alliance for Sorghum in Haiti (SMASH). Jointly funded through a public-private partnership between the U.S. Agency for International ...
Grand Island Independent
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:17:51 -0700

In my house, where time is a bit tighter, I have adopted her flavors and created a quick cooking pork dish that is reminiscent of her recipe, but meets my modern day schedule. The mustard-sorghum mop takes this easy grilled weeknight pork tenderloin ...

Southwest Farm Press

Southwest Farm Press
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:30:00 -0700

And Extension media specialist Steve Byrns reports from San Angelo that farmers should be alert to fall armyworm infestations in sorghum across much of the state. Each quoted Texas AgriLife Extension statewide integrated pest management coordinator ...

AgriLife Today

AgriLife Today
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:40:52 -0700

SAN ANGELO – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists across the state are advising sorghum producers to stay vigilant for fall armyworm infestations. “This is not a panic situation yet, but a growing number of reports of increasing numbers ...
The Times-Picayune
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 06:10:20 -0700

If you are from the South, or if you are over a certain age, chances are better that you at least know the syrup known as sorghum, or "sorghum molasses." (I can check both the "Southern" and "of a certain age" boxes. My mom served sorghum molasses over ...
Fri, 27 Jun 2014 09:27:28 -0700

U.S. farmers are ripping out wheat and planting more sorghum after drought parched fields in Texas. Growers in the state will plant 2.8 million acres of sorghum, according to Wayne Cleveland, the executive director of the Texas Grain Sorghum Association.

Radio Tamazuj

Radio Tamazuj
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:26:15 -0700

Hasabo directed the Strategic Stockpile Department to distribute sorghum to the returnees, who include herders displaced by conflict in the South. In a press statement to Sudan News Agency (SUNA), the Blue Nile governor Hussein Yasin explained that he ...

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