Scientific Name:
Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench, Methodus (Moench) 207 (1794)
  • Holcus bicolor L., Mant. Pl. 301 (1771)
  • = Holcus dochna Forssk.
  • Sorghum dochna (Forssk.) Snowden
  • = Sorghum vulgare Pers. nom. illeg.
  • = Holcus saccharatus L., Sp. Pl. 1047 (1753)
  • Sorghum saccharatum (L.) Moench, Methodus (Moench) 207 (1794)
  • Andropogon sorghum subsp. saccharatus (L.) Asch. & Graebn. (1898) – as A. saccharatus
  • Sorghum vulgare subsp. saccharatum (L.) Maire & Weiller (1952)
  • = Holcus sorghum L., Sp. Pl. 1047 (1753)
  • Andropogon sorghum (L.) Brot. (1804)
  • = Holcus durra Forssk. (1775)
  • Sorghum durra (Forssk.) Stapf (1917)
  • Sorghum vulgare subsp. durra (Forssk.) Maire & Weiller (1952)
  • = Holcus cernuus Ard. (1786)
  • Sorghum cernuum (Ard.) Host (1809)
  • Andropogon sorghum subsp. cernuus (Ard.) Asch. & Graebn. (1898) – as A. cernuus
Vernacular Name(s):
Forage sorghum; Grain sorghum; great millet; Milo millet

Annual robust tufted plants to 1.5 m. Leaf-sheath chartaceous, somewhat keeled near collar, glabrous, or occasionally with sparse, long, fine hairs, straw-coloured, often suffused or blotched reddish purple. Ligule 2–3 mm, stiffly membranous, ciliate. Leaf-blade 30–90 × (1)–2.5–7 cm, with strong pale creamy midrib, linear-lanceolate, long-tapered, glabrous or rarely with a few sparse hairs, adaxially densely pubescent above ligule; margins and filiform tip finely scabrid. Culm internodes often blotched purplish red, pubescent below panicle. Panicle contracted or open, 18–25 × 4–7–(13) cm, branches stiffly ascending or spreading and sometimes pendulous, usually naked below; rachis stout. Racemes several along each branch. Pedicelled spikelet: glumes linear-lanceolate, subcoriaceous; florets Ø, or upper floret ♂; stamens 3, anthers 2.5 mm. Sessile spikelet: glumes 4–6 mm, elliptic-lanceolate to obovate, glabrous to densely pubescent; lemmas hyaline, pubescent, « glumes, lemma of upper floret often awned; stamens 3, anthers 3 mm; caryopsis c. 2.5 × 1.5 mm.

[From: Edgar and Connor (2000) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5 (second printing).]

Number of subspecific taxa in New Zealand within Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench
Exotic: Fully Naturalised1
Exotic: Casual1
Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2010: Flora of New Zealand Volume V Grasses. Edition 2. Manaaki Whenua Press.
Linnaeus, C. 1753: Species Plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.
Linnaeus, C. 1767: Mantissa Plantarum. Stockholm.
Moench, C. 1794: Methodus plantas horti botanici et agri Marburgensis. Officina Nova Libraria Academiae, Marburg.
Wiersema, J.H; Dahlberg, J. 2007: The Nomenclature of Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench (Gramineae). Taxon 56(3): 941–946.