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Panicum virgatum

Coarse, native, perennial grass growing to 6 1/2'. Stout and erect. It is a fast-growing clump. Switchgrass has been used in stream bank, buffer, transitional and slope stabilization, especially where sandy. It is an excellent soil stabilizer. It is an aggressive species that may be appropriate for competing with invasive or non-native species.

USDA symbol: PAVI2

General Information

Plant TypeGrass
Height4 to 6 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun
Soil MoistureDry, Medium
Bloom ColorGreen, Brown
Switchgrass (Switchgrass<div><em class="small">Panicum virgatum</em></div>)
Photo credit: United States Department of Agriculture (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience10
Salt ToleranceMedium
Stress ToleranceDrought Tolerant, Fire Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: High

Bloom MonthsJuly to October
Larval Host ofButterflies, Moths
Specific Pollinators HostedAtrytone arogos iowa, Dargida rubripennis
Pollinator BenefitStem Nesting

Project Planning

Project TypeErosion Control, Sandy or Engineered Soils, Shoreline Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism4
Herbivore SensitivityHigh
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAnoka, Becker, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Clay, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Martin, McLeod, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands