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Sorghum bicolor 'Black Amber'

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


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Grass & Grass-like Plant
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Annual erect herb up to 2.4 m tall.
Foliage The green, strap-shaped leaves are hairless and resemble those of corn (40-70 cm long, 3-8 cm wide). The leaf base is a leaf sheath which clasps the stem. The ligule (a flap of tissue at the leaf base) is approximately round and lined with short hairs.
Stems The round stem is solid and waxy (2-5 cm wide). 
Flowers The loose, branched inflorescence is known as a panicle. It is composed of stalkless spikelets. 
Fruits The dry indehiscent fruit is known as a caryopsis and resembles a shiny, black seed.
Similar Sorghum is sometimes confused with corn, because they have similar form and leaf shape.
Cultivation Plants are ready to harvest at about 90-110 days. Space plants about 2.5-5 cm apart; the tight spacing provides structural support for the tall stems. It needs regular watering before establishment, but little watering afterwards. Once the seedheads form, no more watering is required. For seed harvesting, wait until the seed-like fruits are completely dry before collecting the seed. If you press the fruit and milky sap spills out, the seed is still immature, but the stalk may be ready for pressing.  
Etymology The cultivar is called Black Amber, because it produces black, shiny seed-like fruits. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Stems, Edible Seeds)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The seeds can be cooked like rice. It contains as much protein as wheat, both having more protein than corn.  In Haiti, the seeds are used to make porridge which is eaten with green peas. )
Agriculture - Forestry ( The grain is fed to livestock as fodder.)
[Others]: The stems can be pressed to produce a sweet, brown syrup which is called molasses or sorghum syrup.

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Clasping
Typical Foliar Area Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Asymmetrical
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Opening Time Daytime
Flower Lifespan on Plant Several Days
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Image Repository



Master ID 32976
Species ID 7390
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: 11 June 2021.

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