Panicum capillare

From Coastal Plain Plants Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Common Names: witchgrass[1], old-witch Grass[2]

Panicum capillare
Panicum capillare IWF.jpg
Photo by John Hilty hosted at
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Panicum
Species: P. capillare
Binomial name
Panicum capillare
Natural range of Panicum capillare from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: none.[3]

Varieties: none.[3]


P. capillare is an annual graminoid of the Poaceae family that is native to North America.[1]

This plant is an annual that grows from a cluster of fibrous roots, without rhizomes or hard knotty crowns. The rachis, branches, and pedicels usually scabrous with barbs that are larger than .05 mm. The panicle is equal to or longer than a portion of culm below the panicle and basally included at maturity. Spikelets are 1.6-2.9 mm long, short- to long-acuminate, lanceolate, lance-ovoid, or lance-ellipsoid. The glume is 0.6-1.5 (-2) mm long; blades are more than 10 mm wide; sheaths are hispid to villous. The culm nodes usually pubescent to bearded, the internodes are hispid to glabrous, and the pulvini are pilose to villous, especially at lower primary branches.[3]


P. capillare ranges east to central Canada, and south to Florida and Texas. It also grows in Bermuda.[3]



Considered a weed in cultivated soils, the common habitats for P. capillare include open sandy pr stony soils, fields, roadsides, and waste places.[4]

Specimens have been collected from habitats that include loamy limestone sands, old pocket gopher holes, in nursery beds, and other disturbed places.[5]


P. capillare flowers from August through November.[3]

Seed dispersal

Seed dispersal commonly occurs between September and December.[6]

Fire ecology

Populations of Panicum capillare have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[7]

Herbivory and toxicology

P. capillare has been observed to host seed bugs from the Lygaeidae family such as Blissus leucopterus and planthoppers from the Dictyopharidae family such as Scolops spurcus.[8]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

P. capillare is considered weedy or invasive depending on the authority involved.[1]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 USDA Plant Database
  2. Davis, J., J. Eric, et al. (2002). "Vascular flora of Piedmont Prairies: Evidence from several prairie remnants." Castanea 67(1): 1-12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  4. Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  5. URL: Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Wilson Baker, William Platt, D.E. Boufford, E.W. WOod) States and counties: Florida (Jackson, Gadsden) Utah (Cache) Georgia (Thomas) Massachusetts (Middlesex)
  6. West, G. C. (1967). "Nutrition of tree sparrows during winter in central Illinois." Ecology 48(1): 58-67.
  7. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  8. [1]