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Pearl Millet Anatomy

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Pennisetum glaucom

Images courtesy of USDA-ARS

Pearl millet is a tall, robust, erect, annual bunchgrass. Its height varies depending upon the variety and environment, but plants are generally 6-15 ft in height.(1, 2, 3)
leaves are grass-like, numerous and slender, measuring about an inch wide and up to more than 6 feet long. (4)
"[Pearl Millet] is particularly well adapted to nutrient-poor, sandy soils in low rainfall areas. Stems are pithy and leaves are longpointed with finely serrated margins. The plant tillers freely and produces an inflorescence with a dense spike-like panicle 14" long and 1" or less in diameter. The mature panicle is brownish in color, and spiklets are borne in fascicles of two, surrounded by a cluster of bristles. Each spiklet has two florets, one of which is generally staminate. The upper floret is fertile, with the caryopsis (seed) being enclosed by the lemma and palea from which it threshes free during harvest. Pearl millets are generally cross-pollinated. Several varieties and hybrids have been developed." (from Baker, page 2. [PDF])
Select from the following links for more information on Pearl Millet anatomy:
Pearl Millet Growth Stages
Pearl Millet Characteristics from PLANTS Database.
Plant Ontology Structure and Definitions
Plant Ontology at Gramene
Plant Ontology Consortium (POC)
Anatomy of a Grass Plant
Grass Structures
Plant Reproductive Anatomy - with a section on Monocot anatomy
Monocot leaf anatomy and physiology
( Texas Grasses


  1. Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. Crops: Millet: What is Pearl Millet?
  2. Baker, R. D., (2003). Millet Production (Guide A-414) [PDF], New Mexico State University
  3. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Research & Impact: Areas of Research: MilletResearch & Impact: Areas of Research: Millet
  4. Railey, Karen. Whole Grains: Millet
  5. USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 ( Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
  6. (Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database
  7. (ITIS
  8. GRIN
  9. E.A. Oelke1, E.S. Oplinger2, D.H. Putnam, B.R. Durgan, J.D. Doll, and D.J. Undersander (1990). Millets. In Alternative Field Crops Manual
  10. ICIPE-Mbita Point Research and Training Centre (2002). Management Approaches: Host Plants: Millets
  11. UK Crop.Net