Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

A green stem of grass with a large, airy seed head.

NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Prairie Home


Grasses are the dominant species in North American prairies and switchgrass was one of the dominant grasses. This aggressive grass tends to dominate other prairie species in smaller sites and may form thick stands. It is, however, one of the characteristic grasses of tallgrass and wet prairies, but may also grow in dry prairies. It grows three to five feet tall, and looks rather delicate.

Fascinating Facts

  • Switchgrass is often planted as wildlife cover for gamebirds and other wildlife species.
  • This species of grass is sometimes used, and has been touted, as a source of biofuels.

Find It

Coldwater Spring
Cenaiko Lake (East Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park)Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area

Want to Help Us Better Understand the Park?

See our iNaturalist project, "The Life of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area" and contribute to it by downloading the iNaturalist app and uploading your sightings of this species, and others, to the project. You can also upload your sightings from your computer.

Last updated: February 28, 2018

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111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


(651) 293-0200
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