Witchgrass Panicum capillare L.
Life cycle: Annual
Native status: Native to North America
Habitat: Disturbed habitats, horticultural settings, crop fields
General description: Erect or decumbent, tillering plant reaching heights of 2 to 3 feet. Hairy ligule; stems, sheaths, and leaves densely covered with long, stiff hairs. Seedhead is a large, open panicle with relatively small seed.
Key ID traits: Leaf sheaths are covered with dense, stiff hairs; leaves hairy on both surfaces.
Similar species: Large crabgrass has sheaths covered with stiff hairs, but crabgrass has membranous ligule and usually a more decumbent growth habit. Sheaths of fall panicum seedlings are covered with hairs, but become smooth as the plant grows.
Miscellaneous: Germinates later in the season than the foxtails, so much less common in crop fields.