(Eleusine coracana L.)
ID No. PALB-2235
Dept. of Genetics and Plant
Scientific name ;Eleusine corocana.
Ragi or finger millet (Eleusine coracana.) has known by
many names in English as birds foot, coracana, and
African millet, Finger millet, crow-footed millet.
Among the millets of the world, ragi ranks fourth after
the pearl millet.
Major cultivating area is Africa and southern Asia.
India alone produces between 40 and 45% of the total world
production, and most of the rest of ragi millet is produced in
In India, the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra
Pradesh produce most of the ragi crop.
The southeastern area of Karnataka adjoining regions of
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh produce the bulk of the
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu produce about 61% of the total
Ragi has a wide range of adaptation to soil, however, it
is frequently associated with lateritic soils being mainly
grown on red, light red, light black or grayish loams
and sandy loams.
The grain is very highly resistant to storage insect
pests, even without any special care or attention. It is
reputed to remain in good condition even when stored
as long as fifty years (Ayyangar, 1972).
The most important districts of Karnataka include
Bangalore where over 40% of the cultivated area is
sown to the millet
Kolar where almost 50% of the cultivated land is under
ragi, and Tumkur and Hassan where about 40% of the
cropped area is in millet.
The temperatures range from 26.7o to 32.2o C.
Grows well with very small amount of irrigation,
pesticides or fertilizers.
Can be stored for exceptionally long periods without
any insect damage occurring, and so is extremely
important in times of famine.
it is rich in calcium, iron, protein and some rare
nutrients such as methionine .
Digests easily from infancy through old age, and its
nutrients are highly absorbed.
Easy cultivation, low input requirements, free from
major pests / diseases, rejuvenating capacity after
alleviation of stress conditions.
It is used for malting and brewing.
Grain is ground into flour and malt into stiff mush
Malted grain dried, roasted and ground.
Used for preparing bread and other baked
Much finger millet in Africa is used in preparing
Straw can be used as fodder.
1. Eleusine indica
4. E. poranansis
5. E. jaegeri
6. E. flacifolia
2. E. africana
3. E. Longipoides
4. E. verticillata
5. E. cagopoides
There are two cultivated types of ragi.
Indian ragi (2n = 4x = 36) E. coracana
(tetraploids) - Short fingers, small grains, photo
African ragi ( 2n = 4x = 36) E. africana (tetraploids)
It has long fingers, bold grain, stiff straw,
photosensitive and uneven grain maturity phase.
Uganda and neighboring regions.
Introduced to India approximately 3,000 years ago.
Is an important staple food in both Eastern and
Central Africa and South Asia.
The cultivation of finger millet widely distributed
extending from Tamil Nadu in South to Uttaranchal
in North; ,Gujarat in West to Orissa in East and even
extending to north – eastern regions including
• Sound marketable conditions
• Dry,sweet,clean,good food value.
• Uniform in color ,free from
mould,weevils,smell and other admixtures.
Parameters adopted to study
• Grain dimensions-Appearanca,cooking
quality,keeping quality,endosperm nature.
• Cooking and eating quality-Peiiatability
Can be practically grown in all 12 months of the year.
120-130 days duration crop.
Grows on a wide variety of soils from very poor to very
fertile ones. Thrives best on good arable, well drained
loam or clay loam soils.
Can also tolerate a certain degree of alkalinity.
Habit : Annual or Perennial, herbaceous.
Height : about 1m.
Root system: Adventitious.
Stem : Compressed, elliptic.
Culm : Compressed and culms are typically green in
colour. Culm nodes are glabrous. Culm internodes solid
Leaf sheath : Leaf sheaths are prominently flattened.
Leaf blade : Leaf blades linear, narrow, flat or folded,
without cross veination.
Inflorescence : It consists of
a group of digitally arranged
spikes in a terminal umbel
Spikelet : Spikelets are
strongly compressed laterally,
curved into two over lapping
rows on the outer sides of the
Each spikelet has 4-6 flowers,
flowers per ear head 1500 –
Lemma : Pointed, awnless,
Palea : Present,awnless.
Lodicules : Present and two
in number joined or free,
Glumes : Two, more or less
equal. Lower glume 1 nerved.
Glumes, Lemma and Palea,
Stamen and Stigma
Stamen: Flower contains 3 stamens, short
anthers and long filament.
Pistil: Ovary glabrous. Styles free to their bases.
Branched stigma with white or brown in colour.
Fruit : The grains are globose.
1, stem part with leaves; 2, inflorescence; 3, part of inflorescence branch;
4, spikelet; 5, floret without lemma and palea; 6, grain within lemma and
palea; 7, grain.
Ragi Floral Biology
Terminal whorl bearing 2 to 10, but
averaging 5 or 6 spikes arranged like a
birds foot at the top of the peduncle.
The lowest spike is separated by 2 to 5
cm from the other spikes and which arise
from the same point at the end of the stem
Coleman (1960) and Ayyangar (1972)
In each finger there are about 70
spikelet's, each spikelet having five to
seven complete flowers.
In the spikelet the flowering proceeds
from bottom to top and in a finger the
order of flowering is from the top
An ear head contains 1,500 to 3,000
flowers, and the flowering period varies
from six or seven to ten days.
Coleman (1960) and Ayyangar (1972)
The dry matter accumulation in the seed
gradually increases from the milk stage and
attain a maximum a physiological maturity.
The maximum dry matter accumulation
is recorded in short duration varieties at
their physiological maturity, as compared to
medium and long duration varieties.
Anthesis commences from top spikelet and
progress downwards. Each spikelet contains 4
to 6 flowers, the opening of the florets starts
from bottom to top.
One floret in the spikelet opens per day.
Flowering takes place simultaneously in all
Complete emergence of the inflorescence
requires 7 -8 days.
Depending upon the ear shape –Flower opening
period will vary
Compact : 2-3 a.m.
: 3-5 a.m.
: 1-2 a.m.
Pollen viability is very short, 10 – 15 min.
Anthers require about 45 minutes for
dehiscence after emergence
The stigma is receptive for about five minutes
after emergence from the glumes
Self pollination is the general rule because the
period of anthesis is very short.
Cross fertilization by wind and insects is less
than 1 per cent.
To enhance the productivity.
Improving the quality of the grains.
Elimination of toxic substance in grains and straw.
To develop genotypes resistance to biotic and
Agronomic characteristics:1.Height: Medium 50-75cm is best.
2.Tillering: Professed basal tillering.
Inter state- Indaf 5 and sarada from karnataka.
Pure line selection
AKP 6 from the base material am No. 159
Paiyur 1 from the base material PR 722
Hagari 1( H1) [From Gidda Aryam] (gamma rays)
Shubra[ Mutant from Co 9 ] (gamma rays)
Hybridization followed by selection
CO 6 [EC 1540 X EC 2945]
Poorna [ Co 1 X Aruna ]
Indaf 8 [ Cauvery X IE 927 ]
Indaf 9[K1 X IE 980 R ]
SELFING AND CROSSING TECHNIQUES
SELFING TECHNIQUE: The panicle before commencing anthesis is
covered with paper cover.
Retained till the blooming is over.
It is nothing but the process of removal of male
part from the flower.
In Ragi, two methods of Emasculation are being
1. Hand Emasculation.
2. Hot Water Treatment.
Selection of panicles and florets that would open
the next day.
Selected panicle is covered by a polythene bag after
spraying the plant with cold water and fixed air
The glumes slowly open and expose the premature
anthers and pistil.
The 3 anthers can be carefully removed, without
injuring the stigmatic lobes.
The emasculated panicle is sprinkled with cold
water to prevent drying of the pistil.
In the male parent, the panicles that would open
the next day are cut and tied to the emasculated
seed parent and covered by a butter paper bag.
Hot water treatment
Plants likely to flower during the next 2-3 days are
Hot water treatment at 520C for 2 minutes was the
best as judged from the percentage of seed-set.
Three fingers retained in the panicle are immersed
into thermo flask containing hot water for different
Then the spikelet's are pollinated early in the morning.
The male parent, that would open the next day are tied
to the emasculated seed parent and covered by a butter
The necessary equipment to maintain correct
The correct and efficient temperature for many
The effect of temperature on stigma.
The relatively small amount of seed set that
has been reported in many crop species.
Approach or Contact method
The inflorescence to be opened will be selected.
Cut with long stalk from the male parent.
This is brought to the emasculated flower.
Male flower as a whole will be tied round with
Then they are covered with butter paper bag.
Natural cross pollination takes place in 2 to 5
Marker genes are utilized for identifying the hybrid
seedlings in the nursery plot.
The reason for using contact techniques are as
Autogamous nature of crops with very small
Anthesis takes place in the very early hours of the
The pollen is viable for a short period.
Planting date is adjusted so as to synchronize
flowering of male and female parents.
Selection of proper stage – just flowered at tip of
Prepare ear and remaining portion of the finger and
immature portion of the ear are removed with
scissors. Retain only 2 or 3 fingers.
Select male ear which is similar in condition of
flowering / just flowered.
Surround two female fingers with all male fingers very
loosely and tie it in such a way to allow proper aeration.
Remove the thread after complete flowering of the ear.
Tag the crossed ear head for identification and
collecting the seeds.
Contact method (Karnataka) has been successfully
utilised for crossing and the varieties developed are GPU
26, GPU 28and GPU 48.
Constraints in hybridization
All small millets have small florets which are not
amenable for easy hand emasculation and
The floral morphology and breeding behaviour of
most of the millets make them more difficult
species to work with.
Nearly all the millet cultivars grown were the result
of selection from land races rather than designed
crosses and selections.
At the ICRISAT gene bank.
5949 finger millet germplasm accessions from 24
countries are conserved for use in research and
Sl No. Name of the Year of National Adaptation
crop/variety release /State level
suitable for rabi
suitable for early
suitable for late
kharif planting as
well as for
Tall erect plant
type, long fingers
High seed yield
to both finger and
ear with tip
resistance to blast
2009 National Chhattisgarh,
Non lodging (Semi dwarf
stature) resistance to blast
Tamil Nadu and
Green plant parts with narrow
leaves light green, medium
compact ears with fingers tip
incurved. Resistant to neck
and finger blast
Open and tip incurved ear
head, grains are bold and red
Some mutant varieties.
Dibya Sin ha
Gamma rays Maharashtra
AYYANGAR, G. N, R. (1972). The inheritance of characters in ragi,
Eleusine coracana Gaertn., Madras Agr. J. 20: 1-9.
S.NARAYANASWAMY. (1980). Studies in physiological maturity in some
improved varieties of Ragi.
CHAVAN, V. M. AND P. Y. SHENDGE. (1975). Intensive method of cultivation
of ragi in Bombay State. Poona Agr. Coll Mag- 4 6 ( 2 ) : 180 82.
Breeding field crops. Harihar Ram Singh.
Crop science(1971, 1980, 1986).