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Useful Tropical Plants

Sorghum halepense

(L.) Pers.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Andropogon avenaceus Kunth

Andropogon crupina Kunth

Andropogon decolorans Kunth

Andropogon dubitatus Steud.

Andropogon dubius K.Koch ex B.D.Jacks.

Andropogon halepensis (L.) Brot.

Andropogon sorghum exiguum (Forssk.) Piper

Andropogon sorghum genuinus Hack.

Andropogon sorghum halepensis (L.) Hack.

Andropogon sorghum leiocladus Hack.

Andropogon sorghum muticus Hack.

Andropogon sorghum perennis Bertoni

Andropogon sorghum trachycladus Hack.

Blumenbachia halepensis (L.) Koeler

Holcus decolorans Willd.

Holcus exiguus Forssk.

Holcus halepensis L.

Milium halepense (L.) Cav.

Rhaphis halepensis (L.) Roberty

Sorghum crupina Link

Sorghum decolor P.Beauv.

Sorghum decolorans (Willd.) Roem. & Schult.

Sorghum dubium K.Koch

Sorghum saccharatum halepense (L.) Kuntze

Sorghum schreberi Ten.

Trachypogon avenaceus Nees

Common Name: Johnson Grass

Sorghum halepense
Botanical specimen
Photograph by: Starr, F. & K.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense Sorghum halepense

General Information

Johnson grass is an erect grass, with culms from 60-290 cm in height. It forms an extensive underground root systems[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant has an edible seed that is occasionally eaten. It also has medicinal uses and is a potential biomass.

Known Hazards

The pollen can induce hay fever[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Botanical References

50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Western and northern Africa; through Asia to Pakistan and India.

Habitat

Dry open habitats[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
]. Moist areas on river banks, in clay soils and wet sandy soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *
HabitPerennial
Height2.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Originally from the Mediterranean and west Asia, Johnson grass has spread to many areas of the world, including the tropics. It is best adapted to warm humid summer-rainfall areas in the subtropics, not growing well in strictly tropical areas[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 32°c, but can tolerate 15 - 36°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Temperatures below 13°c tend to inhibit flowering[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -7°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 750mm, but tolerates 450 - 1,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a warm sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. It is adapted to a wide range of soil types, including upland clay, but seems to do best on porous fertile lowlands and river bottoms[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. It does well on heavy clay soils of relatively high fertility and water holding capacity[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 6.8, tolerating 4.9 - 8.2[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Johnson grass is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region, but is now widely distributed as a serious weed in warm-temperate regions of the world[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. It is one of the 10 most noxious weeds in the world an is a serious weed problem in cotton, corn, soybeans, sugarcane, fruit and nut orchards, and vegetables, and mentioned as a problem in 53 countries[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].This species It is a very aggressive plant[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
], spreading freely at the roots and only suitable for large areas[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
]
A parent of the cultivated Sorghum (S. Bicolor)[
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
].
Classified as a short day plant, it does not flower if the daylight hours exceed about 13 hours per day[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
Rhizomes production may be 10-50 t/ha. Seed yields of 0.3 t/ha are considered good[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A day-length of 12 hours is thought to be the optimum for flowering, with above 14 hours of light the grass fails to flower, and above 16 hours all growth processes are inhibited[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw or cooked. It can be used whole in a similar manner to rice or millet, or it can be ground into a flour and used as a cereal in making bread, cakes etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
].

Medicinal

The seed is demulcent and diuretic[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

The plant is a potential source of biomass with yields of up to 19 tonnes per hectare[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out when large enough.
Division as the plant comes into new growth. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position until large enough to plant out.

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