What is the scientific name of sorghum


The carrot or the kaffir grainSorghum bicoloris one of the most important types of millet in the genusSorghum. The annual grass can reach a height of 5 m. In its growth, the millet is strongly reminiscent of maize. The marker-filled stalks have ribbon-shaped two-line leaves. At the terminal ends of the plants there are upright, loose panicles 10–60 cm in length, the branches of which each have 2 spikelets. The bare grains belong to the caryopses and have a diameter of 4-8 mm. Depending on the variety, they can be white, yellow, or red.

The black millet is sensitive to frost and needs light and warmth. With its modest water requirements, it is extremely drought-resistant. In severe drought, it can turn into a drought stagnation with growth stagnation, from which it only wakes up after the onset of rain. The different agronomic types of millet include sudangra type, sugar type, fiber type, feed type and grain type.

The millet is nutritionally extremely valuable. It consists of 60-75% carbohydrates, 8-13% proteins of good biological value and 4-6% fat. One of the goals of the research is to further improve the nutritional content of millet in terms of vitamin A, zinc, iron and essential amino acids.

Origin and Distribution

The black millet originally comes from equatorial Africa. African slaves brought them to the United States in the early 17th century. Today it is grown in all warm, tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Economical meaning

In developing countries, millet is an important staple food. The grains are similar in use to rice. Porridge, grits and flatbreads are made from the whole grain, and beer is also brewed. Millet is not very suitable for baking bread. In addition, millet of the traditional fiber type is grown for the production of brooms, for use as building material or for paper production. The leaves and straw of the millet are used as fodder.

The sugar millet is used for the production of molasses, green fodder and silage. In developing countries it is also used as fuel and building material.

Millet is becoming increasingly important as a renewable energy and raw material crop, especially in industrialized nations. In the USA, sugar millet is increasingly being used to produce bioethanol, whereby the sugar for producing ethanol is obtained from the shoots of the plant. In Germany, sugar millet is being grown on a trial basis for use as a biogas substrate, as methane yields can be achieved similar to those obtained from fermenting corn silage.

The fiber millet, which has a particularly high content of cellulose, is also grown for energetic use.


Paterson A.H. et al. (2009) TheSorghum bicolor genome and the diversification of grasses. Nature 457 (7229): 551-6


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