Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.

Family: Poaceae, Tribe: Andropogoneae

Pertinent Synonyms & Notes (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other synonyms)

Andropogon halepensis (L.) Brot., Holcus halepensis L.

Pertinent Common Names (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other common names)


Primary Disseminule Type

fertile spikelet, with or without 1–2 attached non-caryopsis-bearing spikelet(s)

Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Spikelets heteromorphic, often occurring in pairs of 1 sessile fertile and 1 sterile or staminate spikelet or trios of 1 sessile fertile and 2 sterile or staminate spikelets. Disarticulation at base of sessile spikelet and sometimes at tip of pedicel(s) of the sterile/staminate spikelet(s). Disseminule can consist of a pair of spikelets (1 sessile, 1 sterile/staminate) with attached rachis segment from beneath a sessile spikelet or a trio of spikelets (1 sessile, 2 pedicellate sterile/staminate).

Fertile spikelet sessile, narrowly ovate to elliptic, dorsally compressed, 4–5(7) mm long, 1.5–2.3 mm wide, shiny, straw-yellow to dark reddish brown, consisting of one fertile floret and one basal sterile lemma. Spikelet callus pubescent.

Lower glume coriaceous, length of spikelet, its margins enclosing upper glume, 2-keeled near apex, apex dentate, 3-fid. Upper glume coriaceous.

Sterile lemma hyaline.

Fertile lemma hyaline, 2–2.5(4) mm long, apex entire or dentate, awnless or awn 10–15 mm long, bent, twisted, early deciduous. Fertile palea present or absent or minute.

Sterile/staminate spikelet on pubescent pedicel, well-developed but not looking full or fertile, dorsally compressed, glumes chartaceous, 4–6.5 mm long, containing empty or staminate lemmas.

Caryopsis reddish-brown to black, 2–3 mm long x ca. 1.3–1.6 mm wide, elliptic to obovate, dorsally compressed, embryo 0.5–0.66 length of caryopsis, hilum ± round.

Similar Species

Similar Species Comparison Chart

Risk Assessment (codes in yellow or red indicate cause for concern; assessments are current as of mid-2011; click AUQP, NZBORIC, or NZBPI for access to the most recent versions of these databases and possible assessment changes)