Native millet

Native millet (Panicum decompositum) is one of many plant species found in the Western Australian rangelands. Identifying plant species can help pastoral lessees and station managers to assess pasture condition and trend.

Indicator value

Native millet is a relatively desirable grass in ribbon grass pastures. It is of intermediate value in Mitchell grass pastures. It is a good coloniser of degraded black soil (5.7MB PDF) country. Native millet dominating a previously degraded Mitchell grass pasture can indicate that pasture condition is improving.

Forage value

Acceptability to cattle and nutritional value are variable, though it is readily grazed when green and may be a preferred species on lighter soils. Grazed plants can provide good feed well into the dry season, when cattle will return to previously grazed plants for the relatively nutritious new shoots.

Habitat

Various soils

General description

Native millet is a coarse, tussock-forming native grass that can form large clumps. It usually grows 50–100cm tall. The stems are thick and hollow. The broad flat-leaf blades have sharp edges and taper off to a pointed end. The leaves stick straight up at first but may twist and curl as they hay off. The seed head is spread out with very small paired spikelets at the end of most branchlets. The seed head is pyramid-shaped and about as wide as it is long at its widest point; the entire structure falls off the plant at maturity and it rolls along with the wind.

Contact information

Kathryn Ryan
+61 (0)8 9166 4015
Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019
Page last updated: Thursday, 14 September 2017 - 12:35pm