Setaria italica

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Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.

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Order Poales
Family Gramineae
Genus Setaria

2n = 18

Origin : Eurasia

wild and cultivated

English {{{english}}}
French {{{french}}}

Usages summary
  • annual erect grass
  • thick panicle, cylindrical or more or less lobed

  • cultivated in China and the Caucasus since 5000 BC
  • eaten in porridge in some areas
  • entire panicle given as bird seed
  • also grown as fodder


  • English: foxtail millet; Hungarian grass
  • French: panis, millet des oiseaux
  • It was the panicum of ancient Romans

Popular names

see more European names
  • Swahili: kimanga (PROTA)
  • Sanskrit: chinaka, kangu, kanguni, kangunika, pitatandula, priyangu (Wealth of India)
  • Hindi: kala kangni, koni, kanghuni (Wealth of India)
  • Bengali: kangu, kora (Wealth of India)
  • Marathi: kangu, rala, chenna (Wealth of India)
  • Gujerati: kang, karang (Wealth of India)
  • Telugu: korralu, korra (Wealth of India)
  • Tamil: tenai (Wealth of India)
  • Kanndada: navane, kari-biragu, ksongu, prinagu thene (Wealth of India)
  • Malayalam: tena, thina (Wealth of India)
  • Oriya: tangun, kangu (Wealth of India)
  • Assam: kaon (Wealth of India)
  • Punjab: kangni, chiurr, khar, khauni, salau, shak, kusht (Wealth of India)
  • kashmir: shali, pingi (Wealth of India)
  • Santal & Mundari: erba (Wealth of India)
  • Khasi: u'rai-shoho (Wealth of India)
  • Andamans: tanahal (Wealth of India)
  • Japanese: hie, awa
  • Chinese: sù, gǔ zǐ, xiǎo mǐ (Ricci)
  • Indonesia: juwawut (Javanese), jawawur (Sundanese) (PROSEA)
  • Malaysia: sekoi, skui, rumput ekor kuching (PROSEA)
  • Philippines: dawa (Tagalog), bukakaw (Iloko), turai (Sulu) (PROSEA)
  • Khmer: kuö thpu: (PROSEA)
  • Lao: khauz fa:ngz (PROSEA)
  • Thailand: khao fang (central), fanghangma (southern) (PROSEA)
  • Vietnamese: kê (PROSEA)


Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. (1812)


  • Panicum italicum L. (1753)
  • Panicum germanicum Mill. (1768)

This species is the true panicum in Latin, and Linnaeus did put it in the genus Panicum. Unfortunately, the type of the genus has been chosen as Panicum miliacum (which was milium in Latin), which lead Setaria italica to be put in genus Setaria when it was considered that it should be separated.

  • subsp. viridis (L.) Thell. (1912) [syn. S. viridis (L.) P. Beauv. (1812), Panicum viride L. (1759)] is both a wild form and a weed occurring in all temperate regions; it reaches a height of 1,5 m, with panicles less than 10 cm long, and spikes disarticulate under glumes.
  • subsp. pycnocoma (Steud.) de Wet (1981) includes weeds occurring in Europe, Asia and North America. This "giant millet" is a natural hybrid between wild and cultivated forms and can reach 2,5 m high, with a panicle 20 cm long.
  • subsp. italica includes cultivated forms, with a solid panicle. Three cultivar-groups are distinguished:
    • Moharia Group. Considered as primitive, this group is grown in Europe, Russia, the Near-east and Afghanistan. It includes moha, originating in Hungary and grown as a fodder plant. The height reaches 1,2 m, with about 12 stems, and a lax panicle, erect or inclined, 8 cm long x 1 cm broad.
    • Maxima Group. This group is grown in East Asia. The height reaches 85 cm, with 3 stems and a lobed and pendent panicle, 15 cm long x 2 cm broad.
    • Indica Group. This group is grown in the Indian peninsula and in Sri-Lanka. The height reaches 59 cm, with 7 stems and a compact and erect panicle, 18 cm long x 2 cm broad.



see Candolle's article.



  • Gamerith Anni, 1995. "Hirsch" und "Pfennich". in Hörandner Edith (ed.), Millet - Hirse - Millet. Actes du Congrès d'Aizenay, 18-19 août 1990. Frankfurt-am-Main, Peter Lang. pp. 5-18.
  • Marinval Philippe, 1995. Données carpologiques françaises sur les millets (Panicum miliaceum L. et Setaria italica (L.) Beauv.) de la Protohistoire au Moyen-Age. in Hörandner Edith (ed.), Millet - Hirse - Millet. Actes du Congrès d'Aizenay, 18-19 août 1990. Frankfurt-am-Main, Peter Lang. pp. 31-61.
  • Naciri Yamama et Belliard Jacques, 1987. Le millet Setaria italica, une plante à découvrir (étude bibliographique). J. Agric. Trad. Bot. Appl., 34 : 65-87.
  • PROSEA 10, 1996. Plant resources of South-East Asia. vol. 10. Cereals. ed. by G.J.H. Grubben & Soetjipto Partohardjono. Leiden/Wageningen, Backhuys/PROSEA. (Bogor, PROSEA, 1996). 199 p.
  • Rao K.E.P., De Wet J.M.J., Brink D.E. & Mengesha M.H., 1987. Infraspecific variation and systematics of cultivated Setaria italica, foxtail millet (Poaceae). Econ. Bot. 41 : 108-116.
  • Zohary Daniel & Hopf Maria, 2000. Domestication of plants in the Old World. The origin and spread of cultivated plants in West Asia, Europe and the Nile Valley. Oxford, Oxford Univ. Press. ed. 3. xi-316 p., 45 fig., 25 maps. 19,5 £ ISBN 0 19 850356 3. (ed. 1 : 1988 ; ed. 2. : 1994).