Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench Poaceae (Grass family)

Life cycle

Erect summer annual.


Leaves are rolled in the bud, sparsely hairy at the base. Leaf sheaths are hairless but can be sparsely hairy at maturity. Leaves are 1 to 4 inches wide at maturity with a prominent, white midrib.

shattercane plant showing white midrib
Shattercane plant showing white midrib.


 Membranous with a fringe of hairs.


Erect, robust stems grow up to 8 feet tall, resembling corn.

shattercane in corn
Shattercane in corn.

Flowers and fruit

The seedhead is a large, open panicle. Spikelets are paired as fertile (long) and sterile (short) florets. Reddish black, rounded, flattened seeds are ellipsoid to ovoid and shiny, they often shatter before crop harvest.

shattercane seedhead
Shattercane seedhead.



Print a PDF of this page: Shattercane

Back to identifying field weeds.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.