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Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I, Grains
proteins and other nutritional ingredients. Unless the grain is a low-tannin (yellow or white) type or unless brown seed coats are carefully removed, some tannins remain, and this reduces sorghum's nutritional effectiveness.
Yet a third problem is that when sorghum grain is germinated, a cyanogenic glucoside is formed. In the shoots, enzymes act on this to produce cyanide. This is a potential hazard only with germinated sorghum, and not with the grain itself.
Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench
Sorghum vulgare Pers., S. drummondii, S. guineense, S. roxburghii, S. nervosum, S. dochna, S. caffrorum, S. nigricans, S. caudatum, S. durra, S. cernuum, S. subglabrescens.
East Africa: mtama, shallu, feterita
English: chicken corn, guinea corn
India: jola, jowar, jawa, cholam, durra, shallu, bisinga
South Africa: Kafir corn
Sudan: durra, feterita
United States: sorghum, milo, sorgo, sudangrass
West Africa: great millet, guinea corn, feterita
Middle East: milo
Sorghum comes in many types. All, however, are canelike grasses between 50 cm and 6 m tall. Most are annuals; a few are perennials. Their stems are usually erect and may be dry or juicy. The juice may be either insipid or sweet. Most have a single stem, but some varieties tiller profusely, sometimes putting up more than a dozen stems. These extra stems may be produced early or late in the season. Plants that tiller after the harvest has occurred can be cut back, allowed to resprout, and grown without replanting (like sugarcane).
Soil permitting, the plant produces a deep tap root (see picture, opposite). However, a large number of multibranched lateral roots