Ohio’s Noxious Weeds


Sorghum bicolor, shattercane

Family: Grass, Poaceae.

Habitat: Cultivated fields – especially cereal crops.

Life cycle: Annual.

Growth Habit: 4-8 feet tall; resembles corn, but smaller.

Leaves: 1-2.5 inch wide blades with white midveins.

Flower: July – October. Large panicles of rounded shiny black or red seeds that shatter easily.

Stem: Smooth.

Root: Fibrous root system; often forms brace roots as well.

Similar plants: Shattercane resembles forage sorghum and corn. It is also similar to johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense), but lacks rhizomes and has tighter panicles and wider leaf blades. Shattercane is an annual, while johnsongrass is a perennial.

The problem is…. Aggressive, rapid growth. Competitive with crops.

Brace roots provide support for shattercane. This weed has a growth habit very similar to corn.

Shattercane seed heads shatter easily; seed can remain viable in the soil for 2-3 years.

Gallery 19.1 Shattercane, Sorghum bicolor

Young plants
Entire plant


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Identifying Noxious Weeds of Ohio Copyright © by Bruce Ackley & Alyssa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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