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Sorghum bicolor

Family Name: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Synonyms: Sorghum nigrum
Common Name: Sorghum
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Fruit & Vegetable Annual Dry Soils / Drought Grass & Grass-like Plant


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Grass & Grass-like Plant (Tall Grass (Poaceae))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 4 m


Native Distribution Ethiopia
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form An annual to short-term perennial which erect culms can grow up to 4 m high. 
Foliage Leaves are cauline, with base broadly rounded. Leaf blade measures from 30 - 100 cm long and 5 - 10 mm wide, glabrous and waxy. Leaf sheaths encircle the culms and have overlapping margins. 
Flowers Panicles up to 40 cm long, loose and open. Spikelets are sessile, measuring up to 6 mm long. Upper branches tend to droop.
Fruits Caryopsis (seed) is exposed when matures.
Cultivation The seed should be treated with fungicide and insecticide before sowing. It is susceptible to leaf diseases, such as anthracnose and leaf blight.
Etymology The genus Sorghum is from the Italian name, sorgho. The specific epithet bicolor means two-coloured. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The grains are ground into flour.)
Agriculture - Forestry ( It is fermented and processed into silage for use as animal feed during the winter. Cattle also graze on them and their crop residues.  )

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Tolerates short- term flooding but not prolonged waterlogging conditions.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Potential Problems Birds and rodents. Weeds can be a problem too, therefore regular weeding is required to reduce competition for space and growth. 
Diseases Leaf diseases.
Pest(s) Vertebrates (Herbivores)
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Powdery / Waxy Bloom
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Panicle

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Caryopsis / Grain

Image Repository



Master ID 32751
Species ID 7163
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 October 2020.