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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Ohio State University Extension


Shatter cane (Sorghum bicolor)

Description: Shattercane is a weed sorghum with a broad genetic base. It is believed that natural crossing between diverse sorghum types produced the present day shattercane. There is considerable variation in this species and mature plants may range from 4 to 12 feet.

Life cycle: Annual

Habitat: Cultivated fields – especially cereal crops.

Leaf: 1 to 2 ½ inch wide blades with white mid-veins.

Stem: Smooth, robust, and purple-spotted. 

Root: Fibrous root system; often forms brace roots as well.

The problem is….aggressive, rapid growth. Competitive with crops it can seriously reduce yields and marketability.