Barley Barley Crop Icon Brassicas Brassicas Crop Icon Sugar Beet Sugar Beet Carrots Carrots Icon Leeks Leek Icon Maize Maize Icon Oilseed Oilseed Icon Onions Onions Icon Other Cereals Other Cereals Icon O R T Peas And Beans Peas and beans Icon Potatoes Potatoes Icon Salad Crops Salad Crops Icon Soft Fruits Crops Soft Fruits Icon Top Fruits Crops Top Fruits Icon Wheat Crops Wheat Icon Calendar Calendar icon

Importance

Cultivated sorghum, sorghum bicolor, is grown in the UK as game cover due to its dense tall foliage. Dwarf varieties are also grown for their standing power. In parts of Africa and Asia sorghum is cultivated on marginal soils as grain for food and the straw for use as fodder and feed. In other countries grown as a forage crop or for ethanol production.

The related species Johnson grass is native to the mediterranean region and is known worldwide to be an invasive and competitive weed especially in warmer climates.

Description

Sorghum is a vigorous 'cane-like' grass and most cultivators are annuals. It can grow to a height of 50-100 cm tall. The panicle has a central flowering shoot with several branches bearing groups of spikelets with distinctive dense particles. The grains are small (3-4 mm in diameter) and variable in colour depending on variety.

Johnson grass is a perennial rhizome-forming grass of warmer zones which can reach a height of 200 cm.

Ligule: Membranous and rounded 2-4 mm. (Ligule of johnson grass, Sorghum halepense, is up to 5 mm long.)

Auricles: Absent.

Leaf blade: The coarse dull green leaves are long and 'maize like', overlapping, encircling the stem, with short white hairs at the base. The leaves arise from the central stem. (The leaf blade of johnson grass, Sorghum halepense, has a leaf blade which is smooth, with a distinctive light middle nerve.)

Sorghum 1Sorghum young plants.
Sorghum 2Sorghum flower heads.
Sorghum 3Johnson grass flower head.

Identify grass-weeds

You can use this page to help identify the grass-weeds in your crops, and then find out about the best crop protection products to control them.

View now