Rus Articles Journal

Bread - to all the head? Chunk the third. Millet: history and... Still some people remember

how in difficult wartime, in 1943, Kazakh Chaganak Bersiyev received an unknown harvest of millet - 200 centners from hectare! Before collected on five or slightly more, and it - two hundred! Only present - ten glasses of millet from only one square meter! Fantasy!. It is difficult to believe! However - the fact.

Millet sowing , ordinary or panicled (Panicum miliaceum L.) family Cereals (Poaceae) - a grassy odnoletnik 20 - 100 cm high. The leaves 10 - 25 mm wide trimmed it is wide - linear; stalk simple or branchy. An inflorescence - a whisk up to 20 cm long, sprawling or squeezed. Cones yaytsevidno - elliptic (length of 3,5 - 4 mm, about 5 mm are rare), the lower scales are shorter than the second or third at 1/2 - 1/3 of their lengths. Brilliant, flower scales is shorter than various coloring koloskovy, naked and hryashchevaty. Blossoms in June-August.

Millet is among the most ancient cultural plants - it was cultivated 7000 years ago, and its homeland, most likely, Mongolia and China are. In India culture of millet too very ancient, and earlier often pointed to India (and even to Altai) as home millet, but all latest researches are reduced to one: old instructions to India, Altai and other countries where wild millet allegedly grows, were, to put it mildly, doubtful. For wild in all cases the millet which incidentally ran wild, dropped out of culture was accepted.

In the past millet was widespread in countries of Western Europe as one of the main cultures; residents of Switzerland and northern Italy had millet in a great honor as show the plentiful remains it on places of ancient pile constructions, in the Neolithic era.

It was known also to ancient inhabitants of Priazovye, the southern steppe open spaces - Scythians and Sarmatians what frequent finds of millet at archeological excavations testify to (for example, the Nedvigovsky ancient settlement in the Rostov region). From Scythians whose part was familiar with agriculture (according to Ancient Greek sources) and Sarmatians the culture of millet passed to east Slavs long before adoption of Christianity what obviously point songs of ceremonial character to (“And we sowed millet, sowed. Oh, did, Lado, sowed, sowed“) where the Old Slavic deity of Lado - god of fun, a consent, love and wellbeing at ancient Slavs appears.

The culture of millet as we see, does not concede on antiquity to culture of wheat though all area of its cultivation in general is more shifted to the South, than area of cultivation of wheat. Millet differs from wheat, by the way, in the relative uniformity and lack of hybrids with other plants that quite definitely speaks about one - most likely, millet conducts the beginning from the uniform ancestor and meets Charles Darwin`s expectations of the mechanism of formation of new forms by differentiation of the descending generations it is more, than other cultural cereals.

The look millet sowing is divided into the versions (different experts allocate from three to five groups) united in subspecies: sprawling (patentissimum), branchy (effusum), squeezed (contractum), lump (compactum), semi-lump or oval (ovatum). Generally, in comparison with other cultures of cereals, a variety of forms of millet is small as groups of grades differ only in a form of an inflorescence (whisk) and nothing any more, and grades - only coloring of grains and cones which sizes and a form, actually, remain almost invariable. However, when determining signs (within each of subspecies) also obrushivayemost degree plays a role (or obrushayemost?) grains.

Today the total world area under millet crops - about fifty million hectares, and its nearly a half falls to the share of India.

Be continued.