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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Pennisetum glaucum - pearl millet

Synonyms: Cenchrus americanus, Panicum americanum, Pennisetum americanum, Pennisetum typhoides

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Intermountain Herbarium
Intermountain Herbarium (Utah State University)
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Introduced    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Found in seasonally moist disturbed areas such as roadsides, stream banks, and cultivated fields.
Plant Communities: Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: Below 6500 feet

General Description

Desc: Pearl millet is an upright bunch grass that forms new stems (tillers from the base); extensive root system; erect stems up to 9 feet tall. Stems are 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.
Identification notes: Tall, up to 78 inches, annual with erect and branching stems; seedheads fully exerted from the sheath; first glume absent or shorter than second; lemmas with pubescent margins; grains (caryopses) protrude from the florets at maturity.
Grass Type: Annual  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: Greater than 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - contracted  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jul - Sep

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Absent   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead resembles a cattail, bristly and spike-like, 4 to 20 inches long, densely hairy axis, reduced branches, 1 to 9 spikelets; spikelets of 2 florets, lower floret sterile.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Leaf blades are 8 to 40 inches long and 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Leaves may appear loosely twisted.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheath has very sparse hairs or is often hairless, with or without hairy margins.

Forage Value: Pearl millet is regarded as a high quality feed for grazing, hay, or silage. It is high in protein and energy and low in fiber and lignin concentration.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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