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Switchgrass

Panicum virgatum

Poaceae


Description

The hollow stems of this bunchgrass grow in clumps from many scaly, creeping rhizomes. These large, robust plants have bluish grass blades up to 2 feet long. The ligule is a dense ring or cup of hairs on the upper leaf surface at the collar. The panicles are pyramid shaped with many purplish spikelets. The first glume is three-fourths as long as the spikelet and encircles the base of the second glume. In winter the seed head resembles branches of a weeping willow tree.

Switchgrass is a perennial, warm-season, native – 36 to 72 inches tall.

Good grazing for livestock. Fair grazing for wildlife.


Habitat

Found mostly along creeks and streams and in protected areas. Decreases with heavy grazing.


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