Scientific Name: Panicum capillare

Common Name: witchgrass

Other Common Names: panicgrass, ticklegrass, tumble panic, tumbleweed grass, witches hair

Synonyms: Panicum barbipulvinatum

Habit: Seeds germinate between late spring and early summer. Witchgrass flowers from mid summer through early autumn.

Leaves: Leaves have a distinctive mid rib, hairy ligule, and the entire plant is hairy including both sides of the leaf, the collar, the stem and the sheath which may also be purplish.

Identifying Characteristics: Witchgrass typically has a reddish coloration on the stems starting where the plant meets the ground. It does not root at the nodes.

Flower Seed Head: The seedhead is very large and can be up to half the length of the entire plant. It has many branches on an open panicle.

Seed Fruit: Each spikelet produces one seed that can range in color from green to brown to gray.

Where Found: Witchgrass has no habitat preference and can be found in most any soil type. It is a weed in lawns and other landscape areas, gardens, flower beds, and roadsides.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: hairs from base to tip

  • Ligule: hairy

  • Length: 1-2 mm; less than 1 mm

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: 6 to 15 mm; less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: flat or oval