Millet Panic

Panicum miliaceum L.

Order - Poales

Family - Poaceae




Broom Millet

Other Names

Broomcorn Millet

Broom Millet is also used for Sorghum bicolor.

Brown Millet

Chinese Millet

French Millet

Hog Millet

Indian Millet

Little Millet

Millet Panic is the preferred common name.

Panic Millet

Proso Millet

Red Millet

White Millet


A robust, tufted, usually hairy, leafy, annual, fast growing grass with thick, round or grooved stems and a drooping seed head that is usually partially enclosed in the top sheaths.





Blade - Flat, thin, parallel sided, 100-300 mm long by 6-25 mm wide with a finely tapering tip. Edges often wavy and rough to touch. Hairless or with wart based hairs that taper to a slender point on both surfaces.
Ligule - Narrow, hairy, membranous rim, 1-4 mm long.
Auricles -
Sheath - Somewhat loose, broad, circular. Hairy with spreading, wart based hairs.

Stem leaves -


Tufted. Slender, circular in cross section or grooved, 20-1200 mm tall by up to 8 mm diameter. Single or sparsely branched, occasionally bent at the lower nodes. 4-5 nodes. Sometimes hairy towards the top. Nodes variably hairy.

Flower head:

Dense or open panicle, narrowly oblong, to 300 mm long and often partially enclosed in the upper leaf sheath, usually drooping. Many thread like branches divided 4-5 times, angular an rough to touch. Hairless.


Spikelets - Single on short stalks (pedicels) 2-6 mm long, often in sets of 2-3 in loose racemes. Green or green-brown, 4.5-6 mm long, egg shaped, plump with a tapering tip. Hairless but pedicel is rarely hairy.
Florets - Lower one empty. Upper one bisexual, fertile and falls readily from the outer husks.
Glumes -Lower one thinly membranous, broadly egg shaped, 3.5 mm long, 5-7 (-11)obvious ribs. Upper one thinly membranous, egg shaped, 4.5 mm long, rounded on the back, 9-13 obvious ribs, finely tipped or beaked.
Palea - of lower floret, egg shaped, up to 1.5 mm long, translucent, flat tipped or notched, enclosed by glume. Palea of upper floret, hard, thin, brittle, smooth and shiny.
Lemma - Lower one thinly membranous with obvious ribs similar to upper glume, 4.5 mm long. Upper one, 3 mm long by 2 mm wide, white, yellow, red, brown or black, hard, thin, brittle, smooth, shiny.
Stamens -
Anthers -



Glossy, small.



Key Characters:

Ligule a short rim, ciliate

Inflorescence more than 100 mm long, of 2-many spike like racemes.

Spikelets 4.5-6 mm long, pedicellate, 2 flowered, without an involucre, falls entire at maturity, in loose racemes.

Pedicels 1-5 (-8) mm long.

Disarticulates below the glumes.

Florets bisexual, lower one empty.

Lacks appendage below palea.

Lemma and palea of lower floret obscurely ribbed.

Glumes shorter than or equal in length to the spikelet, similar in texture to lemma, glabrous or scabrous.

Upper glume apiculate, not 2 lobed, no awns.

Lower lemma not 2 lobed, no awns.

From J.M. Black and T.D. Macfarlane.


Life cycle:

Annual grass. Grown as a winter, spring or early summer crop for grain.


Killed by frost.

Not as drought tolerant as Sorghum.


By seed or transplanting.

Flowering times:

January, April and August in WA.

February to April in SA.

Summer to early autumn in Western NSW.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Often appears where birdseed has been discarded.

Often spread by intentional planting.

Origin and History:

Europe. China. Central Asia.






Prefer high temperatures.


Prefer warm moist soils of moderate to high fertility.

Plant Associations:



Grain used for human consumption, bird seed and pig and poultry feed.



Weed of fallows, gardens, rotation crops, roadsides, railways and disturbed areas.

Can be grazed 2-3 times during the vegetative phase.


Suspected of causing photosensitization in sheep, especially lambs grazing lush growth during hot weather.

May cause jaundice.

They cause less toxicity problems than sorghum.



Management and Control:


Eradication strategies:

Prevent seed set.

Graze heavily.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Black seeded Panic (Panicum bisulcatum)

Blue Panic (Panicum antidotale)

Bulbous Panic (Panicum bulbosum)

Coolah grass (Panicum coloratum)

Dwarf Panic (Panicum pygmaeum)

Gilgai grass (Panicum subxerophilum)

Green Panic (Panicum maximum var. trichoglume)

Guinea grass (Panicum maximum)

Hairy Panic (Panicum effusum)

Millet Panic (Panicum miliaceum)

Native Millet (Panicum decompositum)

Native Panic (Panicum buncei)

Pepper grass (Panicum laevinode or Panicum whitei)

Rigid Panic (Panicum prolutum)

Sweet Grass (Panicum laevifolium var. contractum)

Swamp Panic (Panicum paludosum)

Torpedo grass (Panicum repens)

Two coloured Panic (Panicum simile)

Whitewater Panic (Panicum obseptum)

Witchgrass (Panicum capillare)

Yabila grass (Panicum queenslandicum)

Panicum luzonense

Panicum novemnerve

Plants of similar appearance:


Black, J.M. (1978). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P223.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P66.

Ciba Geigy (1980) Grass Weeds 1. CIBA GEIGY Ltd, Basle, Switzerland. P84. Diagrams.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P121.

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney). P334.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P60.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #926.17.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P972.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P89-90.


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