Brachiaria ramosa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Brachiaria ramosa (L.) Stapf

Family: Gramineae


  • Panicum ramosum L.,
  • P. supervacuum C.B. Clarke,
  • Urochloa ramosa (L.) Nguyen.

Vernacular names

  • Browntop millet, pedda sama, anda korra (En)
  • Indonesia: rebha pereng-perengan (Madurese), au kawunga (Sumba)
  • Vietnam: vĩthảo nhánh.


Tropics of the Old World, including most parts of South-East Asia; occasionally grown elsewhere (e.g. in the United States).


Where it is grown as a cereal, the flour made from the grain is usually mixed with flour from finger millet. The grass is well liked by stock both fresh and as hay, and the grains are also used as bird feed.


  • Loosely tufted annual, up to 70 cm tall, erect or geniculate, sometimes rooting at the lower nodes, glabrous to puberulent.
  • Leaf blade linear, 3-15 cm × 3-10 mm.
  • Inflorescence a 4-16 cm long panicle with 3-8 spike-like racemes up to 5 cm long, bearing distant obovoid spikelets 3-4 mm long, usually paired on unequal pedicels; spikelet with sterile or staminate lower floret and bisexual upper floret.

B. ramosa grows as a weed in shallow soil on rock outcrops, on roadsides, on light or heavy soils, in thin forest, up to 200 m altitude.

In India (parts of Madras and Mysore), it is grown as a cereal and considered superior to Panicum sumatrense Roth ex Roemer & Schultes. Cultivated browntop millet has larger inflorescences than its weedy relatives and has lost the ability of natural seed dispersal. Types with different degrees of spikelet disarticulation commonly occur in the same field. It often occurs as an encouraged weed in fields of finger and foxtail millet. The All India Coordinated Minor Millets Programme in Bangalore maintains 50 accessions of browntop millet. The closely related species, B. deflexa (Schumach.) C.E. Hubbard ex Robijns (animal fonio or Guinea millet), occurring wild from Senegal to Yemen, Pakistan and India and southwards to southern Africa, is cultivated as a cereal in the Futa Jalon highlands of Guinea and Senegal and is sometimes considered as a variety or cultivar of B. ramosa.

Selected sources

1, 7, 8, 20, 23, 26, 27, 28, 30, 34.


  • H.N. van der Hoek & P.C.M. Jansen