Biological Name:

Panicum capillare (Witchgrass)

Natural Habitat:

Witchgrass is a type of grass native to North America. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and wetlands.


Witchgrass is a perennial grass that is native to North America. It has long narrow leaves and small inconspicuous flowers. It is often found in dry open areas and is a common weed in agricultural fields.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Why is it called witchgrass?
A: Witchgrass weeds reproduce by seed and it is the fuzzy panicle that soars above the rest of the plant and is the subject of the name. The panicle has a point similar to a witch’s broom. Witchgrass is also called panic grass, hair grass, tickle grass and tumble grass.

Q: Is witchgrass invasive?
A: This species does not appear on any state or national invasive species lists.

Q: Is sorghastrum invasive?
A: Habitat: Indiangrass grows from short scaly rhizomes which can allow it to become invasive in certain habitats, but it makes excellent wildlife habitat and is a good forage plant.

Q: Where is witchgrass native to?
A: Witchgrass is a common weedy native species throughout all of Minnesota and indeed throughout much of North America.

Q: What does crabgrass look like in a lawn?
A: Crabgrass has a rolled stem (rounded vernation) and lime green, coarse-textured leaves. It typically has a prostrate growth habit, spreading out along the ground. Crabgrass seedheads appear finger-like with spikes (racemes) arising from different points at the top of the stem (Figure 3).

Q: Is White Sweetclover invasive?
A: White and yellow sweetclovers are invasive species. Yellow and white sweetclover grow abundantly on disturbed lands, roadsides and abandoned fields. The plants degrade native grasslands by shading out sun-loving plants, reducing diversity.

Q: How do you control witch grass?
A: The top product we recommend for witchgrass is Eraser 41%. Eraser is a Glyphosate-based product that is non-selective, killing all plants that come in contact with it. Eraser contains 41% Glyphosate as an active ingredient and works systemically through the foliage down to the root killing the entire plant within days.

Q: Is Witch Grass toxic?
A: Witchgrass can pose significant animal health issues. It has been found to accumulate nitrate which could be toxic to livestock under certain conditions (Kingsbury, 1964).

Q: Is witch grass a perennial?
A: Witchgrass is a clumping, summer annual grass with open, branching, flower heads.

Q: Is Witch Grass toxic to horses?
A: Stork’s bill (Erodium cicutarium), spear-leaved goosefoot (Monolepis nuttalliana), barnyard grass (Echinochloa crusgalli), and witch grass (Panicum capillare) contain nitrates and can cause nitrate poisoning in horses if ingested in large doses.

Q: How do you get rid of cheatgrass naturally?
A: Hand pulling, cutting, or digging – For small infestations of cheatgrass, hand pulling or hoeing before seeds are produced (approximately 1 week after flowering) will reduce seed but may not completely eliminate the infestation. Several consecutive years of hand removal may be required to reduce seed bank reserves.

Q: What is Witchgrass good for?
A: Switchgrass Uses Switchgrass is being promoted for several uses as a biofuel in Wisconsin. Uses include burning for electricity, production of cellulosic ethanol, and heating of homes and businesses. For biofuel production, fields are recommended to be harvested once per year in the late summer – winter.

Q: What is the best way to get rid of Wiregrass?
A: Weed Killers: Routine weed killers are no match for wire grass. … Digging: To pull or dig wire grass, you’ll need to go several inches deep, to make sure you get ALL of the rhizomes. … Solarization: For new gardens and flower beds, solarization can help give you a blank slate.

Q: What does witchgrass look like?
A: Witch Grass (Panicum capillare capillare) Description: This grass is a summer annual about ¾–3′ tall that is usually tufted at the base, sending up multiple leafy culms from the same crown, otherwise it is unbranched or sparingly so. The culms are light green, terete, and nearly hairless to hairy.

Q: What spray kills hairy panic?
A: Changed farming system; changed weed spectrum Hairy panic is another persistent weed that must be sprayed when small to achieve effective and economical control. To manage broadleaf weeds the Kohlhagens use a low volatile 2,4D ester spike in glyphosate sprays applied over summer.

Q: What does Rattleweed look like?
A: It has erect, hairy stems reaching 3 to 12 inches long. The leaves are composed of nine to 19 leaflets, hairy beneath and smooth above. The flowers are pink or purplish to white, emerging from March to June. The most conspicuous part of the plant is the fruit, a large, one-celled, inflated pod.

Q: Where does Witchgrass grow?
A: Witchgrass is a clumping, summer annual grass with open, branching, flower heads. Other common names for this weed include tumbleweedgrass and witches-hair. It is common throughout California and grows at elevations to about 4900 feet (1500 m).

Q: What does Indiangrass look like?
A: USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N) Yellow indian grass is a tall, bunching sod-former, 3-8 ft. in height, with broad blue-green blades and a large, plume-like, soft, golden-brown seed head. This showy perennial’s fall color is deep orange to purple.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.