Open the Advanced Search

Wood Millet

Milium effusum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Gardens, riverbanks, roadsides, rocky places, waterside, woodland.

Green, no petals
A panicle of pale green, branched spikelets. Each spikelet has one flower.
The fruit is a caryopsis. The seeds mature in July and August.
A perennial, evergreen grass with pale green leaves, up to 1.8cm wide.
Other Names:
American Milletgrass, Bowles's Golden Grass, Broad-leaved Wood Millet.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Milium effusum, also known as broad-leaved wood millet or wood millet, is a species of grass in the family Poaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia and is known for its tufted habit, broad leaves and large, fluffy, creamy-white inflorescences. This perennial grass can reach up to 1.2 meters tall and it is found in damp, shady places, such as woodlands, riverbanks, and along roadsides. It is also considered an ornamental plant and it is used in gardens and landscaping. The seeds are not of any significant value for food for human or livestock, but the plant is enjoyed for its ornamental qualities.


Wood millet, also known as Milium effusum, is a grass species that is native to Europe and Western Asia. It is commonly found growing in deciduous woodlands and along shaded stream banks, and it can also be grown in gardens as an ornamental plant.

Wood millet is a perennial grass that can grow up to 1.2 meters tall. Its stems are slender and upright, and it has narrow, bright green leaves that are about 20 cm long. The flowers of wood millet are borne in panicles, or branching clusters, and they are small and inconspicuous. The seeds of wood millet are also small and shiny, and they are an important food source for birds and small mammals.

One of the most interesting features of wood millet is its ability to grow in dense shade. This makes it an ideal plant for woodland gardens or shady areas in the landscape where other plants may struggle to grow. Wood millet is also drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, making it a great choice for gardeners who want a plant that will thrive with minimal care.

In addition to its ornamental value, wood millet has some practical uses as well. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, digestive problems, and respiratory infections. The seeds of wood millet are also edible, and they can be ground into flour or used as a cereal grain.

Wood millet, like many grass species, plays an important role in the ecosystem. Its dense growth pattern provides shelter and habitat for a variety of small animals, such as mice, voles, and insects. It also helps prevent soil erosion by stabilizing the soil with its root system, and it can even help improve soil health by adding organic matter through its decaying leaves.

Another interesting aspect of wood millet is its cultural significance. In some cultures, it is believed to have spiritual or magical properties. For example, in Celtic mythology, wood millet was associated with the goddess Brigid and was believed to have healing powers. In medieval times, wood millet was also used as a symbol of fertility and abundance.

Despite its many benefits, wood millet is not without its challenges. It can sometimes become invasive in certain areas, spreading rapidly and outcompeting native plant species. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the potential impact of planting wood millet in a particular location and to take steps to control its growth if necessary.

Wood millet has also been studied for its potential as a bioenergy crop. As a fast-growing grass species, it has the potential to be a source of renewable energy through the production of biofuels like ethanol and biogas. This could offer an alternative to traditional fossil fuels and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, wood millet has been used in ecological restoration projects, particularly in areas that have been disturbed or degraded by human activities. Its ability to grow in dense shade and stabilize soil makes it a valuable plant for restoring forest understories or other degraded habitats.

In terms of cultivation, wood millet is a relatively easy plant to grow. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can be planted in the spring or fall. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing clumps of established plants. Once established, it requires minimal care and can be left to grow on its own.

Some Facts about Wood Millet

Here are some facts about wood millet:

  • Wood millet is a perennial grass species native to Europe and Western Asia.
  • It grows up to 1.2 meters tall and has narrow, bright green leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers.
  • Wood millet is able to grow in dense shade and is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, making it a great choice for woodland gardens or shady areas in the landscape.
  • The seeds of wood millet are edible and have been used as a cereal grain or ground into flour.
  • Wood millet has potential as a bioenergy crop and has been used in ecological restoration projects.

In summary, wood millet is a versatile plant that offers many benefits, from its ornamental value to its potential uses in traditional medicine, bioenergy production, and ecological restoration. However, it is important to be aware of its potential to become invasive and to take appropriate measures to control its growth if necessary. When used responsibly, wood millet can be a valuable addition to a variety of landscapes and ecosystems.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map