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Shatter cane (Sorghum bicolor)

Shatter cane Description: Typically grown for food and ethanol production.

Habit: Upright, short-day, summer annual.

Leaves: Blades are flat, glumes vary in color from red or reddish brown to yellowish; 3/4 as long as elliptical grain.

Stems: Rigid, coarse, solid or sometimes with spaces in the pith. Dry with maturity or with sweet insipid juice.

Flowers: Loose, open panicle of short, few-flowered racemes.

Fruit and seeds: Grains are small, 3-4 mm. in diameter; vary in color from pale yellow to reddish brown to dark brown.

Habitat: Native to Africa. Can be found in areas of low fertility, moderately acidic and highly alkaline soils. Not tolerant of frost, shade, of sustained flooding.

Reproduction: By seed.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the United States Department of Agriculture NRCS, Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plants Products, and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( Individual photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Shatter cane

Scientific Name:

Sorghum bicolor







USDA Symbol: