Sorghum bicolor

Sorghum bicolor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Sorghum
Species: S. bicolor
Binomial name
Sorghum bicolor
(L.) Moench

Sorghum japonicum (Hack.) Roshev.
Sorghum vulgare Pers.

Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as durra or jowari, is a grass species cultivated for its edible grain. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are perennial. It grows in clumps that may reach over 4 metres high. The grain is small, ranging from 3 to 4 mm in diameter. Sweet sorghums are sorghum cultivars that are primarily grown for foliage; they are shorter than those grown for grain.[1]

S. bicolor is the cultivated species of sorghum; its wild relatives make up the botanical genus Sorghum.



Seed head of sorghum in India

The species can grow in arid soils and withstand prolonged droughts.[1] It has four features that make it one of the most drought-resistant crops of all.

  • It has a very large root-to-leaf surface area.
  • In times of drought it will roll its leaves to lessen water-loss by transpiration.
  • If drought continues it will go into dormancy rather than dying.
  • Its leaves are protected by a waxy cuticle.

Richard Pankhurst reports (citing Augustus B. Wylde) that in 19th-century Ethiopia, Durra was "often the first crop sown on newly cultivated land", explaining that this cereal did not require the thorough ploughing other crops did, and its roots not only decomposed into a good fertilizer, but they also helped to break up the soil while not exhausting the subsoil.[2]


Sorghum is cultivated in many parts of Asia and Africa, where its grains are used to make flat breads that form the staple food of many cultures.[3][4] The grains can also be popped in a similar fashion to popcorn.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,418 kJ (339 kcal)
Carbohydrates 74.63 g
- Dietary fiber 6.3 g
Fat 3.30 g
Protein 11.30 g
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

The species can be used as a source for making ethanol fuel, and in some environments may be better than maize or sugarcane, as it can grow under harsher conditions.[1] It typically has protein levels of around 9 percent, enabling dependent human populations to subsist on it in times of famine, in contrast to regions where maize has become the staple crop. It is also used for making a traditional corn broom.[5]

The reclaimed stalks of the sorghum plant are used to make a decorative millwork material marketed as Kirei board.

Sweet sorghum syrup is known as molasses in some parts of the U.S., although it is not true molasses.

In China, sorghum is fermented and distilled to produce maotai, which is regarded as one of the country's most famous liquors. Sorghum was ground and the flour was the main alternative to wheat in north China for a long time.

In India, where it is commonly called Jwaarie, Jowar, Jola, or Jondhahlaa, sorghum is one of the staple sources of nutrition. An Indian Bread or Jowar Rotti or Jolada rotti is prepared from this grain. In some countries, sweet sorghum stalks are used for producing biofuel by squeezing the juice and then fermenting into ethanol.[6] Texas A&M University in the United States is currently running trials to find the best varieties for ethanol production from sorghum leaves and stalks in the USA.[7]

In Korea it is cooked with rice, or its flour is used to make cake that is called Susu bukkumi.

In Australia, South America, and the United States (the second largest producer of sorghum after Nigeria), sorghum grain is used primarily for livestock feed and in a growing number of ethanol plants.[8]

Sorghum is one of a number of grains used as wheat substitutes in gluten-free recipes and products.


The genome of Sorghum bicolor was sequenced between 2005 and 2007.[9][10]


Sorghum is a host of the parasitic plant Striga hermonthica.[11] This parasite is a devastating pest on the crop.

International naming


  1. ^ a b c FAO. Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench
  2. ^ Richard Pankhurst, Economic History of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University, 1968), p. 193.
  3. ^ O P Sharma (1993). Plant Taxonomy. Tata McGraw-Hill. pp. 439. ISBN 0074603736. 
  4. ^ National Research Council (1996-02-14). "Sorghum". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Lost Crops of Africa. 1. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-04990-0. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  5. ^ "How to make a broom". Ogden Publications, Inc. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ Sweet Sorghum : A New "Smart Biofuel Crop" AgriBusinessWeek, 30 June 2008
  7. ^ Ceres and Texas A&M to Develop and Market High-Biomass Sorghum for Biofuels Texas A&M University System Agriculture Program, 1 October 2007
  8. ^ [1] United Sorghum Checkoff Program
  9. ^ Paterson, Andrew H.; John E. Bowers, Remy Bruggmann, Inna Dubchak, Jane Grimwood, Heidrun Gundlach, Georg Haberer, Uffe Hellsten, Therese Mitros, Alexander Poliakov, Jeremy Schmutz, Manuel Spannagl, Haibao Tang, Xiyin Wang, Thomas Wicker, Arvind K. Bharti, Jarrod Chapman, F. Alex Feltus, Udo Gowik, Igor V. Grigoriev, Eric Lyons, Christopher A. Maher, Mihaela Martis, Apurva Narechania, Robert P. Otillar, Bryan W. Penning, Asaf A. Salamov, Yu Wang, Lifang Zhang, Nicholas C. Carpita, Michael Freeling, Alan R. Gingle, C. Thomas Hash, Beat Keller, Patricia Klein, Stephen Kresovich, Maureen C. McCann, Ray Ming, Daniel G. Peterson, Mehboob-ur-Rahman, Doreen Ware, Peter Westhoff, Klaus F. X. Mayer, Joachim Messing, Daniel S. Rokhsar (2009-01-29). "The Sorghum bicolor genome and the diversification of grasses". Nature 457 (7229): 551–556. Bibcode 2009Natur.457..551P. doi:10.1038/nature07723. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 19189423. 
  10. ^ Sorghum bicolor genome on Phytozome
  11. ^ Yoshida, Satoko; Maruyama, Shinichiro; Nozaki, Hisayoshi; Shirasu, Ken (28 May 2010). "Horizontal Gene Transfer by the Parasitic Plant Stiga hermanthica". Science 328 (5982): 1128. doi:10.1126/science.1187145. PMID 20508124. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sorghum bicolor —   Sorgo Planta de sorgo …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sorghum bicolor — Sorgho commun Sorgho commun …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sorghum bicolor — dvispalvis sorgas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Miglinių šeimos grūdinis, pašarinis, pluoštinis, prieskoninis, vaistinis kultūrinis nuodingas augalas (Sorghum bicolor), auginamas atogrąžose ir paatogrąžiuose, naudojamas maisto priedams… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Sorghum bicolor — Mohrenhirse Zuckerhirse (Sorghum bicolor), im Feld. Systematik Klasse: Einkeimblättrige (Liliopsida) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sorghum bicolor — ? Гаолян Научная классификация Царство: Растения Отдел: Покрытосеменные Класс …   Википедия

  • Sorghum bicolor — ID 79447 Symbol Key SOBI2 Common Name sorghum Family Poaceae Category Monocot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Introduced to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Sorghum bicolor — noun important for human and animal food; growth habit and stem form similar to Indian corn but having sawtooth edged leaves • Syn: ↑great millet, ↑kaffir, ↑kafir corn, ↑kaffir corn • Hypernyms: ↑sorghum …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sorghum Bicolor — Moench. Kafir corn (E); Maiz millo (C). The seeds are a good grain, sometimes cultivated in Panama, where the stems are used in making brooms …   EthnoBotanical Dictionary

  • SORGHUM BICOLOR (L.) MOENCH - СОРГО ДВУХЦВЕТНОЕ — см. 25. Однолетнее растение. S. bicolor (L.) Moench С. двухцветное Meth. PI. (1794) 207. Snowden (1936) 106, ff. S у n. ffolcus sorghum, H. bicolor L.; H. arduini Gmel.; Andropogon bicolor Roxb.; A. halepensis var. bicolor Vines et Druce. В культ …   Справочник растений

  • Sorghum bicolor var. arduinii — dvispalvis sorgas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Miglinių šeimos grūdinis, pašarinis, pluoštinis, prieskoninis, vaistinis kultūrinis nuodingas augalas (Sorghum bicolor), auginamas atogrąžose ir paatogrąžiuose, naudojamas maisto priedams… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

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