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Setaria italica - (L.)P.Beauv.

Common Name Foxtail Millet
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Asia? The plant was derived through cultivation and its origin is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Setaria italica Foxtail Millet
Setaria italica Foxtail Millet

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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Setaria italica is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.


Panicum italicum. Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. var. metzgeri.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked[2, 34, 46]. It can be eaten as a sweet or savoury food in all the ways that rice is used, or ground into a flour and made into porridge, cakes, puddings etc[105, 183]. The seed can also be sprouted before it is used, when it will become somewhat sweeter[K]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)
  • 384 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 10.7g; Fat: 3.3g; Carbohydrate: 84.2g; Fibre: 1.4g; Ash: 1.8g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 37mg; Phosphorus: 275mg; Iron: 6.2mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 8mg; Potassium: 281mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.48mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.14mg; Niacin: 2.48mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Appetizer;  Astringent;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Refrigerant;  Stomachic.

The germinated seed of yellow-seeded cultivars is astringent, digestive, emollient and stomachic[176, 178, 218]. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, poor digestion and food stagnancy in the abdomen[176]. White seeds are refrigerant and used in the treatment of cholera and fever[218]. Green seeds are diuretic and strengthening to virility[218].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun[162]. Established plants are very drought resistant[57, 61]. Often cultivated for its edible seed in tropical and warm temperate areas, there are many named varieties[183]. Because the plant flowers in late summer there are problems with harvesting a good crop of seed in Britain. Apart from that, the plant grows well here.


Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on fast. Plant them out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Whilst this is fine for small quantities, it would be an extremely labour intensive method if larger amounts were to be grown. The seed can be sown in situ in the middle of spring though it is then later in coming into flower and may not ripen its seed in a cool summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Awa, Bengal grass, Butul, Chenna, Chinaka, Chiurr, Erba, Fatun, Hetui, Iskoi, Italian millet, Japanese millet, Jo, Kala kangni, Kang, Kanghuni, Kangni, Kangu, Kanguni, Kangunika, Kaon, Karang, Karibiragu, Kaun, Khar, Khauni, Koni, Kora, Korra, Korralu, Ksongu, Kusht, Liang, Maisha, Mijo de Italia, Milho painco, Mukobi, Navane, Pingi, Pitatandula, Priangu, Priyangu, Rala, Rumput ekur kucing, Salau, Sekoi, Sekua, Sekui, Shak, Shali, Tanahal, Tangun, Tena, Tenai, Thanahal, Thene, Thina, U'rao-shoho, chinese millet, fox tail millet|thana hal, foxtail millet, fructus setariae germinatus, german millet guya hungarian millet italian millet kangni millet sprout, setariae fructus germinatus.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Afghanistan, Africa, Andamans, Armenia, Asia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Bangladesh, Belgium, Britain, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Central Asia, China, Cyprus, East Africa, East Timor, Egypt, Europe, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guiana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgystan, Laos, Malawi, Malaysia, Manchuria, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, North Africa, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, PNG, Russia, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tasmania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Setaria pumilaYellow Bristle Grass, Yellow foxtail, Cattail grass20
Setaria viridisGreen Bristle Grass22
Setaria viridis pycnocoma 20


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

   Mon Aug 18 2008

Thank you, thank you - at last the answers I needed! Well done. No reply necessary.

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Subject : Setaria italica  
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