It has been a staple diet among people for a long time from the sangam period. Foxtail millet is an annual grass with slim, vertical, leafy stems which can reach a height of 120–200 cm (3.9–6.6 ft). The seedhead is a dense, hairy panicle 5–30 cm (2.0–11.8 in) long. The small seeds, around 2 mm (less than 1/8 in.) in diameter, are encased in a thin, papery hull which is easily removed in threshing. Seed color varies greatly between varieties.