Midwestern Grain is Latest Random Upper West Side Plant

For some reason, the Upper West Side has been particularly fertile this year, growing melons, poisonous weeds and other delights. The latest flora to take root appears to be sorghum, a grain that’s grown in places like Kansas and Texas and is “used for food, animal fodder, the production of alcoholic beverages, and biofuels.” Tipster Nick found some of the grain growing in a planter in front of Alice’s Tea Cup on 73rd Street near Columbus Avenue.

Any botanists in the house? Can you confirm?

ABSURDITY, OUTDOORS | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Jim says:

      This is random, but I have some of these growing on my terrace with a few large potted plants. They don’t look awful so I’ve let them be for now.

    2. Robert Holmes says:

      Milo,maize. Livestock feed additive. Also used in Sudan without modification.

    3. Melanie says:

      Sorghum I believe… it’s not unheard of in NY but definitely uncommon!

    4. JoeShmo says:

      Blame the European starling

    5. Daniel Atha says:

      Yes, indeed, Westsider. The plant is Sorhgum bicolor, a very important grain from Africa where hundreds of varieties have been developed, each adapted to micro habitats and particular desirable traits like sugar content, storage, etc….

      The New York Botanical Garden where I work is cataloging all the wild plants of the City. Observations like this are extremely helpful; as were the Datura sightings. It all gets recorded. We encourage everyone to get the easy-to-use iNaturalist app and help document and conserve our biodiversity. The program also has an astonishingly accurate identifier tool.

      You can see below that Sorghum has been observed several times in NYC. It is spread by people casting bird seed containing Sorghum seeds. This is not indigenous to NYC, but it’s not a fearsome invasive either like the very destructive Porcelain Berry.

      Sorghum in NYC
      https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=674&taxon_id=58389

      Check out the EcoFlora at https://www.nybg.org/EcoFlora

    6. Rusty Breedlove says:

      I’ve bought NY sorghum syrup from local green markets, so it must not be that uncommon.

    7. Ethan says:

      Sorghum . . . such a lovely-sounding word . . . makes me think of going to the dentist. And sorghum is gluten free! Oh glad day!

    8. Robert again says:

      Family, genus,species,or monsantoed?

    9. West 90th Street JeffS says:

      My “picture this” software analyzed it as “grain sorghum.” I screen shot both photos and they both emerged with identical I.D.’s.