Setaria erythrosperma Hornem. ex Rchb. nom. inval.
Setaria flavida Hornem. ex Rchb. nom. inval.
Setaria germanica (Mill.) P.Beauv.
Setaria globulare J. Presl
Setaria globularis J.Presl
Setaria itieri Delile
Setaria japonica Pynaert
Setaria macrochaeta (Jacq.) Schult.
Setaria maritima (Lam.) Roem. & Schult.
Setaria melinis Link ex Steud.
Setaria moharica Menabde & Erizin
Setaria multiseta Dumort.
Setaria pachystachya Borbás nom. illeg.
Setaria panis Jess.
Setaria persica Rchb. nom. inval.
Setaria violacea Hornem. ex Rchb. nom. inval.
Setariopsis italica (L.) Samp.
Foxtail millet (Chinese: 小米; botanic name Setaria italica, synonym Panicum italicum L.) is an annual grass grown for human food. It is the second-most widely planted species of millet, and the most important in East Asia. It has the longest history of cultivation among the millets, having been grown in India since antiquity. According to recent research, it was first domesticated in China around 6,000 BC. Other names for the species include dwarf setaria,foxtail bristle-grass,giant setaria,green foxtail,Italian millet,German millet, and Hungarian millet.
Mandarin Chinese: su (粟). Also called xiǎomǐ (小米), which is the term commonly used for the grain after it has been husked (husks have been removed); unhusked grain is called guzi (穀子) in Northern China.
In India, foxtail millet is still an important crop in its arid and semi-arid regions. In South India, it has been a staple diet among people for a long time from the Sangam period. It is referred to often in old Tamil texts and is commonly associated with Lord Muruga and his consort Valli.
In China, foxtail millet is the most common millet and one of the main food crops, especially among the poor in the dry northern part of that country. In Southeast Asia, foxtail millet is commonly cultivated in its dry, upland regions. In Europe and North America it is planted at a moderate scale for hay and silage, and to a more limited extent for birdseed.
In the northern Philippines, foxtail millet was once an important staple crop, until its later replacement by wet-rice and sweet potato cultivation.
It is a warm season crop, typically planted in late spring. Harvest for hay or silage can be made in 65–70 days (typical yield is 15,000–20,000 kg/ha of green matter or 3,000–4,000 kg/ha of hay), and for grain in 75–90 days (typical yield is 800–900 kg/ha of grain). Its early maturity and efficient use of available water make it suitable for raising in dry areas.
The wildantecedent of foxtail millet has been securely identified as Setaria viridis, which is interfertile with foxtail millet; wild or weedy forms of foxtail millet also exist. Zohary and Hopf note that the primary difference between the wild and cultivated forms is "their seed dispersal biology. Wild and weedy forms shatter their seed while the cultivars retain them." The reference genome for foxtail millet was completed in 2012. Genetic comparisons also confirm that S. viridis is the antecedent of S. italica.
The earliest evidence for foxtail millet cultivation outside of its native distribution is at Chengtoushan in the Middle Yangtze River region, dating to around 4000 BC. In southern China, foxtail millet reached the Chengdu Plain (Baodun) at around 2700 BC and Guangxi (Gantuoyan [de], near the Vietnamese border) at around 3000 BC. Foxtail millet also reached Taiwan (Nankuanli, Dapenkeng culture) at around 2800 BC and the Tibetan Plateau (Karuo) at around 3000 BC.
Foxtail millet likely reached Southeast Asia via multiple routes. The earliest evidence for foxtail millet in Southeast Asia comes from various sites in the Khao Wong Prachan Valley in central Thailand, with the site at Non Pa Wai [de] providing the earliest date with direct AMS dating to around 2300 BC.
The earliest evidence for foxtail millet in East Siberia comes from the archaeological site at Krounovka 1 in Primorsky Krai, dating to around 3620–3370 BC. The earliest direct evidence for foxtail millet in Korea come from Dongsam-dong Shell Midden, a Jeulmun site in southern Korea, with a direct AMS date of around 3,360 BC. In Japan, the earliest evidence for foxtail millet comes from the Jōmon site at Usujiri in Hokkaido, dating to around 4,000 BP.
^ abcdefCastillo, Cristina (2010). "Still too fragmentary and dependent upon chance? Advances in the study of early Southeast Asian archaeobotany". In Bellina, Bérénice (ed.). 50 Years of Archaeology in Southeast Asia. ISBN978-6167339023.
^Guedes, Jade d'Alpoim; et al. (2013). "Site of Baodun yields earliest evidence for the spread of rice and foxtail millet agriculture to south-west China". Antiquity. 87 (337): 758–771. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00049449.