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Pearl Millet Taxonomy

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Pennisetum glaucum (Pearl Millet)

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae - Grass family
Genus: Pennisetum - fountaingrass
Species: Pennisetum glaucum- pearl millet
[Classification from 5]
Synonyms for Pennisetum glaucum, include Pennisetum typhoides, Pennisetum typhoidis, Pennisetum typhoideum, Pennisetum americanum, Setaria glauca, Setaria lutescens, Panicum americanum, and Panicum glaucum. (6, 7) but Pennisetum glaucum is the current officially accepted name. (8)
Common names of pearl millet include; bulrush millet, cattail millet, candle millet, mil à chandelles or petit-mil. (1, 9, 10)

"Millet" is a term to categorize several different small-seeded grasses grown for cereal. There are several types of millets, including pearl millet.
Tribe Genus Example species
Paniceae   Panicum, Setaria, Echinochloa,  
Pennisetum and Paspalum   
proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), japanese barnyard millet (Echinochola crusgalli),
pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and koda millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum)
Chlorideae   Eleusine   finger millet (Eleusine coracana)
Festuceae   Eragrostis    teff millet (Eragrostis tef)
[Table from UK Crop.Net (11) ]


  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