Herb: Indian Millet

Latin name: Achnatherum hymenoides

Synonyms: Oryzopsis hymenoides, Stipa hymenoides

Family: Gramineae (Grass Family)

Edible parts of Indian Millet:

Seed - raw, cooked or ground into a meal and used in making bread etc, gruel and as a thickener in soups. The seed is rather small but when fully ripe it falls readily from the plant and is fairly easy to harvest. Another report says that the seed is rather large, but this has not been our experience. The seeds were parched over the flames of a fire in order to remove the hairs. A pleasant taste and very nutritious, it contains about 6% sugars and 20% starch. Before corn was introduced to the area, this seed was at one time a staple food for some native North American Indian tribes.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Sandy prairies and rocky slopes.

Propagation of Indian Millet:

Seed - sow spring in situ. We have had better results from sowing the seed in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed and it should germinate freely within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Sandy prairies and rocky slopes.

Medicinal use of Indian Millet:

None known

Known hazards of Achnatherum hymenoides:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.