Switchgrass, also known as thatchgrass, tall panic grass, or Wobsqua grass, is a perennial species of bunchgrass that is found in most parts of North America, from Canada to Mexico. Switchgrass has a vast array of uses that range from soil conservation to game cover, biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (a serious climate issue in our modern society), phytoremediation, forage production, and, most recently, a biomass component for ethanol and butanol. Switchgrass grows in a clustered dispersion pattern, with dense clumps of the plants being observed. Switchgrass requires a moderate amount of water for growth and can thrive in both dry and moist soil compositions. This species also has a wide range of ornamental applications for homeowners that include groundcover, deer repellent, and also provides nesting and cover for wildlife. Switchgrass attracts various birds and insects, namely butterflies, to the area and is heavily pollinated by the wind. Although many people do not desire to have switchgrass in their gardens, due to its invasive nature, it actually has several distinct ecological uses and promotes biodiversity in a garden setting, or any environmental setting for that matter. Using an alternative photosynthetic mechanism know as C4 photosynthesis, switchgrass can grow in a wide range of environments that include northern Canada and the temperate environments of the United States and Mexico. Growth most oftens begin in the late Spring months and continues on until the cold weather becomes too severe for optimal growth. The leaves of switchgrass turn from a bright green color in the Spring and Summer months to a pale yellow in the Fall, making it an adaptive ornamental decoration for any yard at any season of the year.
Switchgrass - Panicum virgatum
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