University of Missouri Extension

IPM1024, Revised October 2010

Identifying Grass Seedlings

Witchgrass (Panicum capillare)

Summer annual grasses

Description

Witchgrass is a tufted grass that may grow in a decumbent fashion, or upright, and reaches a height of about 30 inches. The sheaths and stems are round and densely covered with soft, stiff long hairs at a 90-degree angle to the stem and sheath. The blades are also covered with soft hair and are 4–12 mm wide. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a frings of hairs. At maturity, the plant breaks off and is often referred to as “tumbleweed.”

Mature witchgrassMature witchgrass.
 

Collar region SeedlingCollar region: hairy ligule; stem and sheath covered with hairs.
Right, seedling.
 

Habitat

Witchgrass tolerates many soil conditions and may be found in pastures, open fields, cultivated fields, waste areas, banks of streams and rights-of-way.

Distribution

Witchgrass is common throughout Missouri and much of the United States.

Similar species

Wild proso millet is a related species but is not common in Missouri.

IPM1024, revised October 2010

IPM1024 Identifying Grass Seedlings | University of Missouri Extension

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