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.


  1. Finger Millet Eleusine coracana

    Finger Millet, Ragi, Kurakkan, African Millet

    Finger 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.
  2. Foxtail Millet Setaria italica

    Foxtail Millet, Italian Millet

    Foxtail 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....
  3. Pearl Millet Pennisetum glaucum

    Pearl Millet, Bulrush Millet, Cattail Millet, Candle Millet, Bajra, Candlestick Millet

    Pearl 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...
  4. Proso Millet Panicum miliaceum

    Proso Millet, Common Millet, Hog Millet, Broomcorn Millet

    Proso 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.
  5. Grain Amaranth Amaranthus cruentus, A. hypochondriacus

    Grain Amaranth, Kiwicha, Bledo

    Grain 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...
  6. Grain Sorghum Sorghum bicolor

    Grain Sorghum, Milo, Guinea Corn, Shattercane, Durra, Karrir Corn, Broomcorn

    Sorghum is an annual plant in the grass family up to 5 m in height. Grain sorghum is a staple in many hot, dry 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 like rice or...
  7. Maize Zea mays

    Maize, Corn, Indian Corn, Sweet Corn

    Maize is an annual, warm-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...
  8. Naked Oat Avena nuda

    Naked Oat, Avena Sin Cáscara

    Naked 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.
  9. Painted Mountain Corn

    Frank Kutka in Montana, USA (who is helping the developer to promote the corn) brought this seed to ECHO’s attention. Frank wrote, "Corn breeder Dave Christensen has developed a corn that will grow quite far north in the USA (Montana). We wondered if some of the traits bred into 'Painted...
  10. Quinoa Chenopodium quinoa

    Quinoa, Peruvian Rice, Tigrillo

    Quinoa 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.
  11. Sesame Sesamum indicum

    Sesame, Sim Sim, Bene, Sesamo, Agonjoli, Benne

    Sesame 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.
  12. Teff Eragrostis tef

    Teff, Love Grass, Annual Bunch Grass

    Teff 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.
  13. Sweet Sorghum Sorghum bicolor

    Sweet Sorghum, Sugar Sorghum, Sorgo, Cane

    Sweet 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.
  14. Job's Tears Coix lacryma-jobi

    Job's Tears

    Job'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.
  15. Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum

    Buckwheat, Beech Wheat

    Buckwheat 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.