9 Millet Grain Identification in a better way

Millet Grain Introduction:

Millets are the small-seeded grain that comes under the Cereal category. It belongs to the Poaceae family. The grains are highly nutritious and these crops are grown in marginal and low fertile soil. It contributes to human and animal food. Millet grain is called as Nutri-Cereals. In my previous post, I have discussed the types of millets grown in India and abroad.

In this blog, we will understand how to differentiate each millet by its shape, size, and color and how we can identify it easily. In the beginning, it was difficult for me but gradually became acquainted with it.

Generally, millets are categorized into two main groups such as Major and Minor millet. It is based upon the area production and the size of the grains.

Millet Grain Anatomy:

There are 3 main parts in a grain. We will look deep into each part and its nutrient content.

Bran :

It is the outermost covering of the grain just below the seed coat or husk. It protects the kernel from external environmental conditions like water and sunlight along with pests and diseases. This layer is rich in minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. So during the processing of millets, we should ensure that the bran layer is intact as removal of bran deteriorates the nutrient content of the millet grain.


The germ of a millet grain is the reproductive part that gives birth to a new plant after sprouting. It contains vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids.


The function of the endosperm is to provide food and energy to the new plant. It contains starchy carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, and minerals.

Millet Grain Shape, Size and Colour:

When we want to understand the millets in a general way, the main points are:

  • The seed coat and husk of Little Millet, Foxtail Millet, and Proso Millet are glossy in appearance whereas Kodo and Barnyard Millet contains multiple seed coat.
  • Generally, the seed coat of Kodo Millet is brownish, Foxtail is yellowish in color, and rest millets are greyish colored excepts the major millets.
  • Major millets like Sorghum and Pearl Millet can be easily identified by its clour and shape and size while the same case in Finger Millet.

But, looking deep into each millets by photographs will increase our understanding with clarity.


Sorghum Millet Grain
Grain of Sorghum

Grain Color, shape, and size of the Sorghum varies according to the variety. The pericarp colors are white, red, and yellow. The seed size varies from 4-6 mm.

Pearl Millet:

Pearl Millet Grain
Pearl Millet Grain

As the shape of the grains is like Pearl, so it is named as Pearl Millet. The shape varies from ovoid, hexagonal, and globose. It has a single thin testa and aleurone layer and sometimes pigmented. Its length varies from 3-5 mm. The colors of the grains are a nearly white, pale yellow, brown, grey, slate blue, or purple color. The seed type is Caryopsis.

Finger Millet:

The seed type of Finger Millet is Utricle and shape the shape of the grain is globose. The testa of the grain is pigmented with thick five cell layers. The endosperm is the largest component of the kernel. The aleurone layer is single and it lies just below the seed coat and testa.

Finger Millet grains are 1-2 mm in diameter with the color varying from brown to dark brown. 1000 kernel weight is 2.3 gms.

Little Millet:

Little Millet Grain
Little Millet Grain

As the name implies, it is the smallest among all millets. The size of the grain is 2-3 mm in length and shape varies from elliptical to oval shape. The color ranges from grey to straw white.

Foxtail Millet:

Foxtail Millet Grain
Foxtail Millet Grain

The seed type of Foxtail Millet is Caryopsis. The grains are about 2-3 mm in length and the color of the glumes can be red, white, black, white, and yellow.

Barnyard Millet:

Barnyard Millet Grain
Barnyard Millet Grain

Barnyard Millet grain color varies from straw white, grey, little grey to dull white. The size of the grain is about 3mm in length. The grain is concave to oval in shape.

Proso Millet:

Proso Millet Grain
Proso Millet Grain

Proso Millet grains are spherical to oval in shape. Its length and diameter are about 3mm and 2mm respectively. The color of the grain varies from white cream golden yellow, brown, and straw white. There are prominent longitudinal lines on the grain by which we can easily differentiate from others. The seed type is Utricle.

Kodo Millet:

Kodo Millet Grain
Kodo Millet Grain

Kodo Millet grains are elliptical to oval in shape. The color varies from blackish brown to dark brown in color. The size of the grain is about 3-4 mm in length.

Browntop Millet:

Browntop Millet Grain
Browntop Millet Grain

The grains are ellipsoid in shape and tan white in color. The size of the grains varies from 4-5 mm in length.

Video on Millet Grain Shape, Size and Color:

Related Post: Types of Millets grown in India


By this time I am confident that, you must have understood about the millet grain and its shape, size and color. When you keep all this grains separately in front of you and study them, definitely this will boost your confidence in identification of millets.

11 thoughts on “9 Millet Grain Identification in a better way”

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