Grain crops produce edible, dry seeds, which can be stored for long periods of time. True cereal grains are members of the grass family. Other grain-like crops are called pseudo-cereals. Most grains are good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and B vitamins. Cultivars vary widely in their seasonal and climatic adaptations. Grain crops are usually planted at the beginning of the wet season and mature during the dry season.
Ornamental Amaranth Amaranthus caudatus
Foxtail Amaranth, Inca wheat, love-lies-bleedingOrnamental amaranth is a fast-growing annual, up to 2.5 m in height. The stems end in a large, sometimes drooping inflorescence that may be red, purple or green. The leaves may be used as a leafy vegetable. Mainly used as an ornamental, but leaves and seeds are also edible.
Foxtail Millet Setaria italica
Foxtail Millet, Italian MilletFoxtail millet is an annual grass crop, up to 1.5 m in height, and one of the most water efficient (250-300 mm per crop), short term (60-70 days), warm weather crops which can be used as a “catch” crop, planted after another crop has failed. The grain can be cooked whole or ground into flour....
Maize Zea mays
Maize, Corn, Indian Corn, Sweet CornMaize is an annualwarm-climate crop in the grass family, thriving in open sunny environments with daytime temperatures of 20-24C. Maize is used fresh, frozen, canned, rolled and roasted for corn flakes, pressed for oil, or processed for ethanol as fuel. Maize is also an important feed source for...
Teff Eragrostis tef
Teff, Love Grass, Annual Bunch GrassTeff is an annual tufted grass, growing to 1 m in height, with very small grains that may be ground into flour or eaten as a porridge. Teff is grown as a cereal crop primarily in Ethiopia. The grain is ground into flour, fermented and made into Injera, a sourdough-type flat bread.
Quinoa Chenopodium quinoa
Quinoa, Peruvian Rice, TigrilloQuinoa is a broad-leaved annual crop for cool seasons and higher altitudes in the tropics. The grain is a nutritious pseudo-cereal which is eaten boiled, toasted or ground into flour, and the leaves are eaten fresh or cooked.
Grain Sorghum Sorghum bicolor
Grain Sorghum, Milo, Guinea Corn, Shattercane, Durra, Karrir Corn, BroomcornSorghum is an annual plant in the grass family that grows up to 5 m in height. Grain sorghum is a staple crop in many hotdry areas and ranks 5th worldwide among cereal grains. Depending on the variety, sorghum is grown for grain, forage, fuel, fiber, syrup, and sugar. Cleaned grain can be cooked...
Finger Millet Eleusine coracana
Finger Millet, Ragi, Kurakkan, African MilletFinger millet is a short, annual grass to 1 m in height, grown for its small grains that are usually ground into flour for porridge. More drought tolerant than maize or sorghum, finger millet is also higher in protein, fat and minerals than those crops.
Naked Oat Avena nuda
Naked Oat, Avena Sin CáscaraNaked oats are an annual grass crop for cool weather with moist, well drained soil. In the tropics they do best in highland areas as a cover crop or forage. The grain is edible when cooked.
Job's Tears Coix lacryma-jobi
Job's TearsJob's tears is a tropical, 1 to 2 m tall annual grass. It is commonly found growing in many tropical areas of the world in ditches and low areas. Plants are commonly used for fodder and seeds are both consumed and used for bead craft.
Proso Millet Panicum miliaceum
Proso Millet, Common Millet, Hog Millet, Broomcorn MilletProso millet is an erect, tillering, annual grass, growing to 1 m in height, that is grown for the small seeds used for human consumption and livestock food. Proso millet was one of the earliest cultivated grains in the world. It is fairly drought tolerant and has a short growing season.
Pearl Millet Pennisetum glaucum
Pearl Millet, Bulrush Millet, Cattail Millet, Candle Millet, Bajra, Candlestick MilletPearl millet is an annual, tillering grass, growing to 4 m in height, and more drought tolerant than maize. The seed head is compact, cylindrical and up to 30 cm long. The grains are ground into flour for preparation of porridge, flat breads and fermented products. Pearl millet is widely grown...
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum
Buckwheat, Beech WheatBuckwheat is a temperate, or high altitude tropical, annual, upright plant growing to 1 m in height. It is grown for the seeds which are used for human consumption and livestock feed. Buckwheat is also useful as a green manure or cover crop.
Sesame Sesamum indicum
Sesame, Sim Sim, Bene, Sesamo, Agonjoli, BenneSesame is an erect, herbaceous, annual, broad-leaved plant, growing to 2.5 m in height. It is one of the oldest cultivated crops and mainly grown as a field crop for the seeds and especially oil extracted from the seeds.
Sweet Sorghum Sorghum bicolor
Sweet Sorghum, Sugar Sorghum, Sorgo, CaneSweet sorghum is an annual plant in the grass family up to 5 m in height. This variety of sorghum is distinguished by the sweet juice contained in the soft pith of the stalk and is mainly grown for syrup and sugar. It may also be planted for forage or silage.
Grain Amaranth Amaranthus cruentus, A. hypochondriacus
Grain Amaranth, Kiwicha, BledoGrain amaranths are annual plants and include several species of Amaranthus grown specifically for the seeds which are usually lighter colored than vegetable amaranth varieties. The cultivation of grain amaranths as food plants is traceable to ancient Aztec civilizations of Mexico. The grain...