Witch Grass (Panicum capillare)
From the Poaceae family and the Genus Panicum. Other names include Panic Grass, Dog Grass, and Tickle Grass. It is also called Quack Grass and Couch Grass, but shouldn't be confused with Agropyron repens.
Panicum capillare is considered an ornamental grass but before purchasing know this can become and invasive weed. Native to North America, it is now spreading to areas around the world including Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.
When it sprouts as a monocot it spreads out at the base producing hairy stems. Grass begins to grow upright 10 - 30 inches tall and densely grows out about 2 feet in a decumbent fashion, or lying on the ground and tips turn up. Leaves are also hairy and grow about 4 to 10 inches long. There is a white mid-vein throughout it's length.
Witch grass is primarily green but it can carry blue to purple hints of color. It has tasseled flowerheads with seeds make up about half the plants height. These are loose, open panicle clusters that resemble a broom. Within are small cream colored flowers that are egg shaped.
|Photo: F.D. Richards|
Found growing in cultivated fields, the grass also grows in meadows, wastelands and gardens. It grows in part and full sun and prefers sandy soils that don't require a lot of water. The pH range of soil it prefers to grow in is 5.5 to 7.5 helping the weed to adapt well to clay and most other types of soil.
This annual weed grass spreads by seed and one plant can produce up to 60,000 seeds. Seeds mature in fall and germinates in the spring and summer. Flowers bloom from June through November, depending on region.
Removing and controlling can be done in various ways. Having a fibrous, shallow root system, weed can be pulled easily. If broken off at stem, can root at nodes.
Other methods of removal include:
Butterfly Garden on Facebook
I'd like to highlight two very important contributions on our Facebook page recently...
First - Susan pointing out the importance of keeping our Monarch Butterfly numbers up. They are in decline and one organization to get free milkweed seeds from is:
Second - Entomologist Sally has been an active butterfly educator and it has become a family affair from her butterfly garden. She has a book to help teach your kids about butterflies and gardening:
Butterfly Papercrafts: 21 Indoor Projects for Outdoor Learning
Thanks Susan and Sally!
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This complete list of host plants for butterflies covers the most common butterflies, and largest family - Nymphalidae, or Brushfooted butterflies.
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