Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass, means-grass, aleppo grass, grass sorghum, Egyptian millet)

description: perennial

place of origin: Mediterranean Europe and Africa

urban habitat: commonly found in waste areas, urban meadows, oil fields, drainage ditches, along roadsides and highways, railroads, in neglected cultivated landscapes; thrives in full sun, can tolerate nearly any soil type, drought-tolerant; its seeds can lay dormant and remain viable for several years.

ecological function: disturbance-adapted colonizer; can be used for erosion control; food for wildlife and livestock.

history: Introduced in the US in the early 1800’s as a forage crop, Sorghum halepense is currently found in every state in the US except Maine and Alaska, and is considered to be one of the ten worst weeds in the world. It has naturalized in all continents in the world except Antarctica. It is edible and can be used in a similar manner to rice or millet or ground into flour. Medicinally, it has been used as a diruetic and to soothe sore throats. The Kiowa tribe used is it as food for horses and children used its leaves to make grass whistles. Johnsongrass is a potentially good biomass energy source due to its widespread abundance and fast growth rate. Its pollen can induce hay fever.