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About 30 species, see text
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, some of which are raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents in addition to Oceania and Australasia.
For more specific details on commercially exploited Sorghum see commercial sorghum.
Numerous Sorghum species are used for food (as grain and in sorghum syrup or “sorghum molasses”), fodder, and the production of alcoholic beverages. Most species are drought tolerant and heat tolerant and are especially important in arid regions. They form an important component of pastures in many tropical regions. Sorghum species are an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia and is the “fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world” . African slaves introduced sorghum into the U.S. in the early 17th century.
Some Sorghum species such as Johnson Grass are important economic and environmental weeds.
The reclaimed stalks of the sorghum plant are used to make a decorative millwork material known as Kirei board.
Some species of Sorghum can contain levels of hydrogen cyanide, hordenine and nitrates lethal to grazing animals in the early stages of the plant’s growth. Stressed plants, even at later stages of growth, can also contain toxic levels of cyanide.