Witchgrass [Panicum capillare L.][PANCA] Photographs

Blue panicgrass [Panicum antidotale Retz.][Bayer code: none][CDFA list: B] Map of Distribution Photographs


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[
SYNONYMS] [GENERAL DESCRIPTION] [SEEDLINGS] [MATURE PLANT] [ROOTS and UNDERGROUND STRUCTURES] [SPIKELETS/FLORETS] [POSTSENESCENCE CHARACTERISTICS][HABITAT] [DISTRIBUTION] [PROPAGATION/PHENOLOGY] [MANAGEMENT FAVORING/DISCOURAGING SURVIVAL] [SIMILAR SPECIES]


SYNONYMS:

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

SEEDLINGS:

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MATURE PLANT: Culms usually branched. Blades flat, rolled in bud, tips acute. Sheaths open, +/- 4-8 cm long. Ligules consist of a fringe of hairs. Auricles lacking.

ROOTS and UNDERGROUND STRUCTURES:

SPIKELETS/FLORETS: Spikelets lack awns and consist of a lower sterile floret and an upper fertile floret. Spikelets ~ 2-3 mm long, +/- 1 mm wide, detach as a unit. Glumes and sterile lemmas membranous. Lower glume clasping and smaller than upper glume, ~ 1/2 the length of spikelets. Fertile lemma hard, smooth, glossy, glabrous, tightly enfolding palea, +/- pale greenish to straw-colored at maturity.

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POSTSENESCENCE CHARACTERISTICS: Foliage is usually killed by freezing temperatures, but may persist through winter with vegetative characteristics intact.

HABITAT: Open, disturbed sites, roadsides, fields, irrigated pastures, irrigation ditches, canal banks.

DISTRIBUTION:

PROPAGATION/PHENOLOGY: Seeds fall near the parent plant or disperse to greater distances with human activities, soil movement, water, animals, wind, and as seed or hay contaminants. Most seed germinates from late spring through midsummer.

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MANAGEMENT FAVORING/DISCOURAGING SURVIVAL:

SIMILAR SPECIES: Fall panicum [Panicum dichotomiflorum Michaux][PANDI] and wild-proso millet or broom corn millet [Panicum miliaceum L.][PANMI] are less common summer annuals that resemble witchgrass. Unlike witchgrass, mature fall panicum has +/- glabrous foliage, spikelet stalks ~ 1 mm long that lay close (appressed) to the inflorescence branches, and lower glumes 1/4-1/3 the length of the spikelets. Fall panicum seedlings have densely hairy sheaths, but blades are only hairy on the lower surfaces. Fall panicum occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and Southwest region to 500 m (1650 ft). Introduced from the Eastern U.S. Wild-proso millet is distinguished by having dense, +/- drooping panicles with ascending branches, spikelets 4-6 mm long and ~ 2 mm wide, and blades with small auricles. At maturity, fertile florets are often glossy orange-brown. Wild-proso millet is cultivated as a grain crop in Eurasia, Africa, and the U.S. and is a common component of commercial birdseed. It occurs in the Central Valley, San Francisco Bay region, Southwest region, and occasionally elsewhere as a volunteer, to 1000 m (3300 ft). Introduced from Eurasia. Hillman’s panicgrass [Panicum capillare L. ssp. hillmanii (Chase) Freckmann & Lelong] is a regional subspecies of witchgrass introduced from the Great Plains to the Sacramento Valley. It is sometimes considered a distinct species Panicum hillmanii Chase. Unlike witchgrass, Hillman’s panicgrass has a large crescent-shaped scar at the base of the fertile floret.

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