Broomcorn

Broomcorn, a variety of sorghum. Since very early times, the branches of its flowering head have been used to make brooms. The stalk is juicy, but it lacks the sweetness of some of the other sorghums. The seeds are borne at the top of the stalk in panicles having long, straight branches.

Dwarf broomcorn grows to be four to six feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) high. The top, or brush, is used for whisk brooms and other small brooms. Standard broomcorn grows to about 12 feet (3.7 m). The brush is 18 to 30 inches (45 to 75 cm) long and is used for full-size household brooms. (To some extent plastic "broomstraws" have replaced broomcorn for this purpose.)

Broomcorn requires much the same growing conditions as ordinary field corn, but is able to withstand a greater degree of drought. The harvest season requires dry weather, since the brush is stained by rain. The brush is cut off at maturity. The seeds are scraped off by hand or are removed by a broomcorn thresher. The tops are then sorted and dried.

Broomcorn is Sorghum vulgare technicum of the grass family, Gramineae.