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Photo by Mike Haddock


Common Name: Switchgrass

Scientific Name: Panicum virgatum

Family: Grass

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 3 - 6 feet

Bloom Period: July, August, September, and October


Description: Hollow stems arise from many scaly, creeping rhizomes. Bluish-green leaves are flat with a prominent midvein. Flowers are in diffusely branched pyramid-shaped heads 6-18 inches long.

Comments: When young, this grass provides good grazing, but as the stems become tough, their forage value decreases. Switch Grass produces high yields of hay. Seeds are eaten by many species of birds. Switch Grass plants make good winter cover for wildlife. Cultivars of this grass have been considered as a source of biofuel to replace gasoline. Plants turn shades of burnt-orange in the autumn after a frost. Switch Grass grows throughout Kansas.

Photo by Iralee Barnard