File Size: 96 KB
Sorghum halepense   (L. ) Pers.
Mitchell County, Kansas
Height: 2-7 feet
Family: Poaceae - Grass Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September,October
Culms: Erect, stout, simple or branched, pubescent at nodes, otherwise glabrous.
Blades: Flat, 8 to 36 inches long, .5 to 1.5 inches wide, drooping, usually glabrous, often purple spotted, midrib prominent.
Sheaths: Usually shorter than internodes, open.
Ligules: Membranous, conspicuously fringed.
Inflorescences: Panicles, open, oval to oblong in outline, 6 to 20 inches long, often purplish; branches whorled; axils hairy.
Spikelets: In pairs; sessile spikelets fertile, 2-flowered, ovate-lanceolate, pale greenish yellow to purplish; awns to 1/2 inch long, twisted and bent; stalked spikelets usually staminate, narrower, lanceolate; awns absent.
Habitat: Open waste areas, roadsides and field margins, in moist soil.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Origin: Johnson grass is a native of the Mediterranean region and was introduced into the U.S. around 1830.
Forage Value: Johnson grass has moderate forage value but is poisonous to livestock if grazed under drought conditions or following the first frost due to its prussic acid content.
Uses: Kiowa children used the stems and leaves to make whistles.
Comments: Rhizomatous. Johnson grass has been used for forage and to stop soil erosion, but it can become a troublesome weed. Its strong rhizomes make it difficult to eradicate.

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