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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae

198. Sorghum Moench, Methodus. 207. 1794.

高粱属 gao liang shu

Authors: Shou-liang Chen & Sylvia M. Phillips

Andropogon subg. Sorghum Hackel.

Perennial or annual, with or without rhizomes. Culms usually robust, erect. Leaf blades linear to linear-lanceolate; ligule a ciliate membrane. Inflorescence a large terminal panicle with elongate central axis; primary branches simple or branched, bearing short dense racemes of paired spikelets; racemes fragile (tough in cultivated species); rachis internodes and pedicels slender, ciliate. Sessile spikelet dorsally compressed; callus obtuse, bearded, inserted into internode apex; lower glume usually leathery, shallowly convex, rounded on flanks, becoming 2-keeled and winged upward, usually hairy, apex membranous; upper glume boat-shaped, keeled upward; lower floret reduced to an empty hyaline lemma; upper lemma 2-toothed, awned from sinus or infrequently awnless; awn bigeniculate, glabrous. Lodicules ciliate. Pedicelled spikelet well developed or reduced to a glume, usually much narrower than sessile spikelet, awnless.

About 30 species: tropics and subtropics of the Old World, one species endemic to Mexico, otherwise introduced in America; five species (three introduced) in China.

The genus includes species of agricultural importance, including the tropical cereal sorghum, and several species grown for forage.

1 Nodes of culm conspicuously bearded; panicle branches simple.   1 S. nitidum
+ Nodes of culms glabrous or shortly pubescent; panicle branches subdivided   (2)
2 (1) Plants with rhizomes; wild   (3)
+ Plants without rhizomes; usually cultivated   (4)
3 (2) Culms slender, 0.5–1.5 m tall; panicle lanceolate, 20–40 cm; sessile spikelet elliptic; lower glume apex clearly 3-denticulate.   2 S. halepense
+ Culms robust, 1.5–3 m tall; panicle ovate, 30–55 cm; sessile spikelet ovate; lower glume apex apiculate or obscurely denticulate.   3 S. propinquum
4 (2) Panicle rather lax; racemes usually tardily fragile at maturity; sessile spikelets elliptic, 6–7.5 mm; grain enclosed by the glumes.   4 S. sudanense
+ Panicle often dense; racemes tough at maturity; sessile spikelets ovate to subrotund, 3.5–6 mm; grain large, exposed between the gaping glumes.   5 S. bicolor

Lower Taxa


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