Panicum capillare L.
common witchgrass (witchgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #89136)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Panicum capillare
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Annual grass from fibrous roots, usually branching from the base; stems decumbent-based to erect, 20-70 cm tall.
Sheaths open, copiously more or less pimpled and soft-hairy, the hairs 2-4 mm long; basal leaves similar to the stem leaves, the blades (3) 5-12 (15) mm wide; ligules 1.5-2 mm long.
Inflorescence a diffusely branched, spreading to drooping panicle, 10-30 cm long, often partially included in the uppermost sheath; spikelets 2-flowered, 2.5-3.5 mm long, the lower florets sterile, the upper ones always fertile; lower glumes 3-nerved, sharp-pointed, at least 1/2 as long as the spikelets, 1-3 mm long, the upper ones smooth, 7-nerved, sharp-pointed, about as long as the sterile lemmas, exceeding the fertile lemmas and paleas; sterile lemmas smooth, 9-nerved; fertile lemmas much-hardened, faintly-nerved; lodicules about 0.3 mm long, fan-shaped; anthers purple, about 1.2 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Panicum capillare

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1051 449 2290
Slope Gradient (%)
47 3 86

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

196 138 335
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

ICH(1), IDF(2), PP(1)

Habitat and Range

Moist to dry roadsides, railway embankments, gravelly slopes and fields in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC, rare northward to 56 degrees N; E to PQ and NS and S to ME, MA, PA, NC, FL, MS, LA, TX, NM, AZ and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Panicum barbipulvinatum Nash
Panicum capillare subsp. barbipulvinatum (Nash) Tzvelev
Panicum capillare var. agreste Gattinger
Panicum capillare var. barbipulvinatum (Nash) R.L. McGregor
Panicum capillare var. brevifolium Vasey ex Rydb. & Shear
Panicum capillare var. campestre Gattinger
Panicum capillare var. capillare
Panicum capillare var. occidentale Rydb.
Panicum philadelphicum subsp. gattingeri (Nash) Freckmann & Lelong