Panicum frumentaceum Roxb.
Oplismenus frumentaceus (Link) Kunth
Panicum crus-galli frumentacea (Link) Trimen
Echinochloa crus-galli frumentacea (Link) W.F.Wright
Echinochloa crus-galli edulis Hitchc.
Echinochloa colona frumentacea (Link) Ridl.
Panicum crus-galli edule Makino & Nemoto
Echinochloa crus-galli edulis Honda
Echinochloa glabrescens barbata Kossenko
Echinochloa glabrescens glabra Kossenko
Echinochloa glabrescens pilosa Kossenko
Common Name: Japanese Millet
Echinochloa frumentacea is a robust, erect, clump-forming grass producing culms 30 - 200cm tall.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use of its edible seed. It is sometimes cultivated, especially in India and E. Asia for this seed, especially in areas where rice will not grow. It is also sometimes used in soil stabilization projects.
Native habitat unknown, possibly derived in cultivation from E. crus-galli
Not known in a truly wild situation.
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Echinochloa frumentacea is an annual plant that can succeed in a wide range of environments from the temperate zone to the tropics. It can be found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 25 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 35°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 750mm, but tolerates 450 - 1,000mm[
Requires a sunny position[
]. Prefers a rich moist soil[
] but succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
]. Plants can succeed in soils with a pH as low as 4.5[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.8 - 7.2[
This is the fastest growing of the millets, it can produce a crop of seeds within 6 weeks of sowing in the tropics, subtropics and areas of the temperate zone with hot summers[
]. Obtaining a reasonable crop in cool-summer areas, however, is more problematic. The plants need to be started off early in a greenhouse in order to give sufficient growing time, planting them out after the last expected frosts.
There are some named varieties[
Seed - cooked and used as a millet or as a rice[
]. The seed can be cooked whole or can be ground into a flour[
]. Usually eaten as a porridge[
]. The seed contains about 72.5% starch, 3.12% fat, 11.8% protein, 2.65% ash[
The plant is useful in the treatment of biliousness and constipation[
As an erosion control plant it is used as a quick growing companion crop with perennial grasses and legumes and is especially suited to wet sites[
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.
A sowing in situ in late spring might also succeed but is unlikely to ripen a crop of seed if the summer is cool and wet.