Fonio (Digitaria exilis (Kippist) Stapf) is a glumaceous monocot of the genus Digitaria of the family Gramineae (or Poaceae).
There are over 300 Digitaria species, which are sometimes grown as fodder crops. Only three or four are grown as cereals:
Only Digitaria exilis is of any real importance in West Africa nowadays
Fonio is a small annual herbaceous plant that grows to a height of 30 to 80 cm and produces inflorescences generally comprising two or three (but anything up to five) racemes. The spikelets on the racemes are grouped in pairs (early varieties) or in threes or fours (late varieties), on pedicels. The spikelets comprise a sterile flower and a fertile flower, the latter of which gives rise to the fonio grain