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Sorghum

Sorghum

Overview
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

, one of which is raised for grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 and many of which are used as fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

 plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents in addition to the South West Pacific and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

. Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae
Panicoideae
Panicoideae is a subfamily of the true grass family. It probably constitutes two well-distinct lineages, the Andropogonodae and the Panicodae, which are further subdivided into tribes and subtribes...

 and the tribe Andropogoneae
Andropogoneae
Andropogoneae is a tribe of grasses widespread throughout tropical and temperate regions. They use C4 carbon fixation physiology. All members of this tribe specifically utilize the NADP-Malic Enzyme subtype of C4 Photosynthesis. This tribe is commonly referred to as the sorghum tribe...

 (the tribe of big bluestem
Big Bluestem
Andropogon gerardii, known also as Big bluestem, Turkey foot, Prairie tallgrass, or simply Tallgrass, is a tall grass native to much of the Great Plains and Prairie regions of central North America- Description :...

 and sugar cane).

Other names include Durra, Egyptian Millet, Feterita, Guinea Corn, Jwari, Jowar, Juwar, Milo, Shallu, Sudan Grass, Cholam, Jola, Jonnalu, Gaoliang, Great Millet, Kafir Corn, Dura, Dari, Mtama, and Solam.
For more specific details on commercially exploited sorghum, see commercial sorghum, also known as milo.


One species, Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as durra or jowari, is a grass species cultivated for its edible grain. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are...

, is an important world crop, used for food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 (as grain and in sorghum syrup or "sorghum molasses"
Sweet sorghum
Sweet sorghum is any of the many varieties of sorghum which have a high sugar content. Sweet sorghum will thrive better under drier and warmer conditions than many other crops and is grown primarily for forage, silage, and syrup production....

), fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

, the production of alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s, as well as biofuels.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

, one of which is raised for grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 and many of which are used as fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

 plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents in addition to the South West Pacific and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

. Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae
Panicoideae
Panicoideae is a subfamily of the true grass family. It probably constitutes two well-distinct lineages, the Andropogonodae and the Panicodae, which are further subdivided into tribes and subtribes...

 and the tribe Andropogoneae
Andropogoneae
Andropogoneae is a tribe of grasses widespread throughout tropical and temperate regions. They use C4 carbon fixation physiology. All members of this tribe specifically utilize the NADP-Malic Enzyme subtype of C4 Photosynthesis. This tribe is commonly referred to as the sorghum tribe...

 (the tribe of big bluestem
Big Bluestem
Andropogon gerardii, known also as Big bluestem, Turkey foot, Prairie tallgrass, or simply Tallgrass, is a tall grass native to much of the Great Plains and Prairie regions of central North America- Description :...

 and sugar cane).

Other names include Durra, Egyptian Millet, Feterita, Guinea Corn, Jwari, Jowar, Juwar, Milo, Shallu, Sudan Grass, Cholam, Jola, Jonnalu, Gaoliang, Great Millet, Kafir Corn, Dura, Dari, Mtama, and Solam.
For more specific details on commercially exploited sorghum, see commercial sorghum, also known as milo.

Cultivation and uses



One species, Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as durra or jowari, is a grass species cultivated for its edible grain. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are...

, is an important world crop, used for food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 (as grain and in sorghum syrup or "sorghum molasses"
Sweet sorghum
Sweet sorghum is any of the many varieties of sorghum which have a high sugar content. Sweet sorghum will thrive better under drier and warmer conditions than many other crops and is grown primarily for forage, silage, and syrup production....

), fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

, the production of alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s, as well as biofuels. Most varieties are drought
Xerophyte
A xerophyte or xerophytic organism is a plant which has adapted to survive in an environment that lacks water, such as a desert. Xerophytic plants may have adapted shapes and forms or internal functions that reduce their water loss or store water during long periods of dryness...

 and heat tolerant, and are especially important in arid
Arid
A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

 regions, where the grain is staple or one of the staples for poor and rural people. They form an important component of pastures in many tropical regions. Sorghum is an important food crop in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, and South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and is the "fifth most important cereal
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

 crop grown in the world".

Some species of sorghum can contain levels of hydrogen cyanide, hordenine
Hordenine
Hordenine is a phenethylamine alkaloid with antibacterial and antibiotic properties. It stimulates the release of norepinephrine in mammals, working as a stimulant...

 and nitrates lethal to grazing animals in the early stages of the plant's growth. Stressed plants, even at later stages of growth, can also contain toxic levels of cyanide.

Another Sorghum species, Johnson grass
Johnson grass
Sorghum halepense, commonly called Johnsongrass, is a plant in the grass family, Poaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, but growing throughout Europe and the Middle East. The plant has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and most larger islands and archipelagos...

 (S. halapense), is classified as an invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

 in the US by the Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

.

Sorghum vulgare var. technicum is commonly called broomcorn.

Species


  • Sorghum almum
  • Sorghum amplum
  • Sorghum angustum
  • Sorghum arundinaceum
  • Sorghum bicolor
    Sorghum bicolor
    Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as durra or jowari, is a grass species cultivated for its edible grain. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are...

     — Cultivated sorghum, often individually called sorghum
    • Sorghum bicolor subsp. drummondii — Sudan grass
  • Sorghum brachypodum
  • Sorghum bulbosum
  • Sorghum burmahicum
  • Sorghum ecarinatum
  • Sorghum exstans
  • Sorghum grande
  • Sorghum halepense
    Johnson grass
    Sorghum halepense, commonly called Johnsongrass, is a plant in the grass family, Poaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, but growing throughout Europe and the Middle East. The plant has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and most larger islands and archipelagos...

     — Johnson grass
  • Sorghum interjectum
  • Sorghum intrans
  • Sorghum laxiflorum
  • Sorghum leiocladum
  • Sorghum macrospermum
  • Sorghum matarankense
  • Sorghum nitidum
  • Sorghum plumosum
  • Sorghum propinquum
  • Sorghum purpureosericeum
  • Sorghum stipoideum
  • Sorghum timorense
    Sorghum timorense
    Sorghum timorense, commonly known as Downs Sorghum, is an annual tropical Asian and Australasian grass native to the island of Timor, and Australia in the northern portions of the states of Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia .-Description:Culms are upright or abruptly bent,...

  • Sorghum trichocladum
  • Sorghum versicolor
  • Sorghum verticiliflorum
  • Sorghum vulgare var. technicum  — Broomcorn


Sorghum genome


In 2009, a team of international researchers announced they had sequenced the sorghum genome.

See also

  • Baijiu
    Baijiu
    Baijiu , or shaojiu is a Chinese distilled alcoholic beverage. The name baijiu literally means "white liquor," "white alcohol" or "white spirits". Baijiu is often translated as "wine" or "white wine"...

     alcoholic beverage distilled from sorghum
  • Push–pull technology pest control strategy for maize and sorghum

External links