Every amateur gardener is familiar with "volunteers" that appear unbidden and unplanted in the yard or garden. The stalk above sprouted in an unused garden pot (it probably arrived via a stray birdseed kernel). I thought it was common midwestern sweet corn until it tasseled and I recognized it as "broomcorn."
Sorghum or broomcorn is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family (Poaceae). Some of these species are grown as cereals for human consumption, in pastures for animals, and as bristles for brooms. One species is grown for grain, while many others are used as fodder plants, either cultivated in warm climates worldwide or naturalized in pasture lands... Most varieties are drought- and heat-tolerant, nitrogen-efficient, and are especially important in arid and semi-arid regions, where the grain is one of the staples for poor and rural people. These varieties form important components of forage in many tropical regions. S. bicolor is an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia, and is the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world.
This plant will stay in the garden through the autumn and winter as a seed source for the granivores. The stalks were traditionally used for broommaking.