Description from Flora of China
Panicum italicum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 56. 1753; Chae-tochloa germanica (Miller) Smyth; C. italica (Linnaeus) Scribner; C. italica var. germanica (Miller) Scribner; Chamaeraphis italica (Linnaeus) Kuntze; C. italica var. germanica (Miller) Kuntze; Panicum chinense Trinius; P. germanicum Miller; P. italicum var. germanicum (Miller) Koeler; Pennisetum germa-nicum (Miller) Baumgarten; P. italicum (Linnaeus) R. Brown; Setaria germanica (Miller) P. Beauvois.
Annual. Culms robust, erect, up to 150 cm, nodes glabrous. Leaf sheaths glabrous or pubescent, ciliate; leaf blades linear-lanceolate, 15–45 × 0.6–2 cm, usually glabrous; ligule 1–3 mm. Panicle dense, lobed, 6–40 × 0.5–5 cm, very variable, erect or pendent when mature; spikelets subtended by several bristles 1–5 times spikelet length; axis villous. Spikelets elliptic to ovate or subglobose, 2–3 mm, yellow, brown, orange or purple; lower glume 1/3–1/2 as long as spikelet; upper glume about as long as spikelet, 5–7(–9)-veined, obtuse; lower lemma equal to spikelet, 5–7-veined; lower palea absent or narrow, up to 1/2 as long as lemma; upper floret yellow or orange-yellow, oblong or ovate-oblong, cartilaginous, deciduous at maturity, finely rugose to smooth and shiny. Fl. and fr. summer to autumn. 2n = 18.
This grass (Foxtail Millet) has been cultivated as a cereal in China since ancient times and exists in many races differing in size, shape, and hairiness of the panicle, color of the grain, and length of the bristles. It is also a useful forage grass. It is thought to be derived from Setaria viri-dis.
Cultivated. Anhui, Beijing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [origin uncertain; now introduced and cultivated sporadically worldwide].