Shattercane

June 15, 2015

Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench Poaceae (Grass family)

Life cycle

Erect summer annual.

Leaves

Leaves are rolled in the bud, sparsely hairy at the base. Leaf sheaths are hairless but can be sparsely hairy at maturity. Leaves are 1 to 4 inches wide at maturity with a prominent, white midrib.

shattercane plant showing white midrib
Shattercane plant showing white midrib.

Ligule

 Membranous with a fringe of hairs.

Stems

Erect, robust stems grow up to 8 feet tall, resembling corn.

shattercane in corn
Shattercane in corn.

Flowers and fruit

The seedhead is a large, open panicle. Spikelets are paired as fertile (long) and sterile (short) florets. Reddish black, rounded, flattened seeds are ellipsoid to ovoid and shiny, they often shatter before crop harvest.

shattercane seedhead
Shattercane seedhead.

Reproduction

Seeds.

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