Sorghum Molly’s Ruatoki Black


GENUS: Sorghum SPECIES: bicolour

Maximum of 5 per person


Heritage Status: New Zealand
Bio-Region of Origin: Eastern Bay of Plenty
Number of Seeds: 40 enough to plant 5 sq m at .4 diagonal spacings

Description: This is a New Zealand heritage sorghum that has a wonderful story. It was selected and trialled here in the Eastern Bay of Plenty area, (including Torere where Kōanga was based for the 2009/10 growing season), for extraction of the juice to make sorghum syrup. A factory was built in Opotiki to crush the stems and harvest the juice, for sale as a sweetener. For some reason it all fell over but many older locals recall eating sugar cane fondly, and at least one gardener kept it alive for us today! This particular variety has very, very black shiny seeds which do not thresh out of the panicles anywhere nearly as easily as the others. In the Eastern Bay of Plenty sorghum was traditionally called ‘sugar cane’ and was harvested and buried in the ground so it could be enjoyed over a long period. It was taken to school for school lunches 40 years ago!!! Thanks Poihaere and also Molly.

Planting Instructions: Plant into seed trays. Transplant into garden at 40 cm diagonal spacing when 5-10 cm high and soil temperature reaches 15 degrees C.