Alopecurus typhoides Burm.f.
Andropogon racemosus (Forssk.) Poir. ex Steud.
Cenchrus pycnostachyus Steud.
Cenchrus spicatus (L.) Cav.
Chaetochloa glauca (L.) Scribn.
Chaetochloa lutescens Stuntz
Chamaeraphis glauca (L.) Kuntze
Holcus paniciformis Roxb. ex Hook.f.
Holcus racemosus Forssk.
Holcus spicatus L.
Ixophorus glaucus (L.) Nash
Panicum alopecuroides J.Koenig ex Trin.
Panicum americanum L.
Panicum coeruleum Mill.
Panicum compressum Balb. ex Steud.
Panicum glaucum L.
Panicum holcoides Trin.
Panicum indicum Mill.
Panicum involucratum Roxb.
Panicum sericeum Aiton
Panicum spicatum (L.) Roxb.
Penicillaria arabica A.Braun
Penicillaria deflexa Andersson ex A.Braun
Penicillaria elongata Schrad. ex Schltdl.
Penicillaria indica A.Braun
Penicillaria involucrata (Roxb.) Schult.
Penicillaria macrostachya Klotzsch ex A.Braun
Penicillaria mossambicensis A.Braun
Penicillaria nigritarum Schltdl.
Penicillaria plukenetii Link
Penicillaria roxburghii A.Braun
Penicillaria solitaria Stokes
Penicillaria spicata (L.) Willd.
Penicillaria typhoidea Schltdl.
Penicillaria willdenowii Klotzsch ex A.Braun
Pennisetum albicauda Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke.
Pennisetum ancylochaete Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum aureum Link
Pennisetum cereale Trin.
Pennisetum cinereum Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum echinurus (K.Schum.) Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum gambiense Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum gibbosum Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum giganteum Ten. ex Steud.
Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.
Pennisetum indicum A.Braun
Pennisetum leonis Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum maiwa Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum malacochaete Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum megastachyum Steud.
Pennisetum nigritarum (Schltdl.) T.Durand & Schinz
Pennisetum plukenetii (Link) T.Durand & Schinz
Pennisetum pycnostachyum Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum solitarium Stokes
Pennisetum spicatum (L.) Korn.
Pennisetum spicatum (L.) Körn.
Pennisetum typhoides (Burm.f.) Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum typhoideum Rich.
Phleum africanum Lour.
Setaria glauca (L.) P.Beauv.
Setaria lutescens F.T.Hubb.
Setaria rufa Chevall.
Setaria sericea (Aiton) P.Beauv.
Setariopsis glauca (L.) Samp.
Common Name: Pearl Millet
Pearl millet is a vigorous, erect, freely tillering, tufted, annual grass with an extremely profuse root system. It can grow from 0.5 - 4 metres tall with leaves that can be 1 metre long on slender stems 1 - 3cm in diameter[
Pearl millet was first domesticated in the Sahel 2 - 3,000 BC., being derived from Pennisetum violaceum. Its cultivation spread gradually from there and now the plant is cultivated for its edible seed in tropical and sub-tropical areas through much of the world[
]. It is a staple food for over 100,000,000 people, especially in parts of tropical Africa and India where it is too hot, dry and sandy for sorghum production[
]. The plant is especially suited to regions with a short growing season[
Probably indigenous to the western Sahel zone in Africa[
River banks in sandy soils, common as a weed[
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A plant of the tropics and subtropics, succeeding from semi-arid to moist areas, it can be grown at elevations from sea level to 1,800 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature ranges between 25 - 35°c, but can tolerate 12 - 40°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 - 900mm, but tolerates 200 - 1,700mm[
Requires a light well-drained soil in a sunny position[
]. Tolerant of various soil conditions, especially of light and acid soils[
]. Its large and dense root system allows it to succeed in dry infertile soils[
]. Once established, the crop is fairly tolerant of salinity[
]. This species is the most drought-resistant of all cereal crops[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8.3[
The early maturing forms require a growing period of 60 - 95 days to ripen the seed, medium duration types need about 80 days, whilst long duration types need 100 - 120 days or longer[
Pearl millet is harvested by hand, either by picking the panicles or by harvesting whole plants. In cultivars where tillers ripen unevenly, several pickings are required. Cultivars with long panicles are favoured for ease of harvest, bundling and transport[
In Africa, the expected yields of grain are 0.25 - 1.0 tonne per hectare, though normally the optimum yields are from 3 - 5 tonnes and experimental yields of up to 8 tonnes have been reported[
]. When seedlings are established with fresh water and fertilizer applied, multiple irrigations with seawater can give yields of 1 - 1.6 tonnes of grain[
There are often not many seeds on the inflorescence[
Seed - raw or cooked. It can be used like rice in sweet or savoury dishes, or can be ground into a powder and used as a flour for making breads such as chapatti, porridge etc[
]. The grain is often fermented to make various foods[
]. The seed can also be popped in the same manner as popcorn[
]. The sweet tasting grains are eaten raw by children[
]. Very nutritious[
], it contains about 70% carbohydrate and 10% protein[
The immature flowering stems are roasted and eaten like sweetcorn[
The plant is appetiser and tonic[
]. It is useful in the treatment of heart diseases[
The fruits have been rubbed on open facial pimples in order to get rid of them[
The grain has been applied to treat chest disorders, leprosy, blennorrhoea and poisonings, and the ground grain as an anthelmintic for children[
A root decoction is drunk to treat jaundice[
The vapour of inflorescence extracts is inhaled for respiratory diseases in children[
Pearl millet is often intercropped with one to several crops, including cowpea, sorghum and groundnut[
Following the discovery that pearl millet can suppress root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans) it is increasingly being used as an alternative to soil fumigation in tobacco and potato cropping in Canada[
The straw is used for thatching, fencing and fuel[
Split stems are used for basketry[
A dye for leather and wood is obtained from red- and purple-flowered types[
Seed - sow in situ. The optimum temperature for germination is 33 - 35°c; no germination occurs below 12°c[
If dry and protected from insects, seed can be stored adequately at room temperature for several years[