Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is a tall drought-tolerant grass growing up to 3 m in height with long blade-like leaves, extremely deep roots and bulrush-like seed heads. The deep roots make the plant very drought-tolerant and hardy as it can access water from very deep under the soil surface. Pearl millet produces grain (seeds) for human consumption and the whole plant can be used as animal fodder.
It is believed to have originated in western regions of the Sahara desert in Africa about 4 000 years ago. It is also known as bulrush millet, manna (Afrikaans), leotsa (Sepedi), nyalothi (in Sesotho), inyouti (isiNdebele), mhuga, mhungu (Shangaan) or unyaluthi, unyawoti and unyawothi (isiZulu).