- A very important plant, Sorghum vulgare, which grows in semi-arid tropical and subtropical regions. It has the general appearance of the maize plant with thinner leaves and a top terminal spike of small seeds. Some varieties produce white seeds which are preferred for eating, the red seeded type is more bitter and used for brewing beer. There is also a variety whose stems are crushed like sugar cane to produce a syrup used for sweetening, mainly in the USA. Sorghum grain is used for human consumption where grown and is only traded for compounding animal feeds.