Native millet

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panicum  decompositum

CATEGORY: C4  perennial


  • A densely tufted, warm-season,  sometimes short-lived, perennial to 145cm tall
  • Leaves blue-green with a distinct  whitish midvein and a keel underneath
  • Seedhead is an open panicle to 40cm  long and with, more or less, paired unawned spikelets; breaks off and blows away when mature
  • Flowers in summer and autumn


  • Widespread and common; often in  disturbed or wetter areas; rarely forms dominant stands
  • Occurs on a range of soil types, but  especially heavy clays and alluvial soils
  • Drought and flooding tolerant, but  frost sensitive


  • Moderate to high  grazing value
  • No digestibility  figures are available
  • Crude protein  2.2-10.6%


  • Regarded as an important and  valuable forage of the floodplains
  • Hays-off in winter, but quickly  regrows in spring.  Produces a good bulk  of highly palatable feed after heavy summer rains or flooding
  • Can withstand heavy grazing, but  overstocking has led to its disappearance in some areas.  Its presence on sandy soils is usually a sign  of light stocking, but on clay soils it is usually a sign of overstocking
  • Persists best under rotational  grazing, using moderate grazing pressure (less than 40% utilisation) to prevent  plants becoming tall, rank and less palatable.   This can be difficult to achieve in good summers when an excess of feed  is most likely to be produced
  • Establishes easily from seed, which  is spread when seedheads break off at maturity and are blown around; seedheads  and can pile up against obstructions and form a fire risk


  • Hairy panic (Panicum effusum) has dull-green  leaves, with distinctive long glandular hairs along the leaf margins

(Flowering plant: H Rose)