Foxtail Millet
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Foxtail Millet
A Naturalized Photo: Seema Bin Zeenat
Common name: Foxtail Millet, Italian Foxtail Millet • Assamese: কণী ধান Koni dhaan • Bengali: কাওন দানা Kaon dana • Gujarati: કાંગ Kang • Hindi: कांगणी Kangni • Malayalam: തിന Thina • Marathi: राळं Ral • Nepali: Kaguno • Sanskrit: प्रियङ्गुः Priyangu, कङ्गुः Kangu • Tamil: தினை Thinai, கங்கு, Kavalai • Urdu: کنگنی‎ Kangni
Botanical name: Setaria italica    Family: Poaceae (Grass family)
Synonyms: Panicum chinense, Setaria asiatica, Setaria persica

Foxtail millet is an annual grass with slim, vertical, leafy stems which can reach a height of 1.2-2 m. Leaf blades are linear-lanceshaped, 15-45 x 0.6-2 cm, usually hairless. Flower panicles are dense, lobed, 6-40 x 0.5-5 cm, very variable, erect or pendent when mature; spikelets subtended by several bristles 1-5 times spikelet length; axis hairy. The seed-head is a dense, hairy panicle 5-30 cm long. The small seeds, around 2 mm in diameter, are encased in a thin, papery hull which is easily removed in threshing. Seed color varies greatly between varieties. In India, foxtail millet is still an important crop in its arid and semi-arid regions. In South India, it has been a staple diet among people for a long time from the Sangam period. It is referred to often in old Tamil texts and is commonly associated with Lord Muruga and his consort Valli.

Identification credit: Seema Bin Zeenat Photographed in Rajouri, J&K.

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