Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

pp 1021-1024

Brown Top Millet: Origins and Development

  • Eleanor Kingwell-BanhamAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London Email author 
  • , Dorian Q. FullerAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London

Basic Species Information

Brown top millet, which goes by the scientific name Brachiaria ramosa (L.) Stapf. or Urochloa ramosa (L.) R.D. Webster, is known locally as pedda-sama and korne, and has a limited cultivation largely confined to southern India. Domestic and wild/weedy forms of brown top millet are found in agricultural systems, often within the same field. It is used as both a human food crop and fodder. Outside of India, it is grown in some parts of the USA as a fodder crop, largely to provide food for game birds, and was introduced from India around 1915. Although its distribution is highly relict today, restricted to parts remote parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu states in southern India (Kimata et al. 2000), it appears to have been a major staple crop in the late prehistory of the wider region of the Deccan (Fuller et al. 2004).

In several parts of India, brown top millet is known by local names which translate to “illegal wife of li ...

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