Toxic Parts:
glycosides, saponins
Flower Color:
  • flower color
waterside, meadows, haybales

Time of Greatest Risk


Geographical Distribution

Switchgrass distribution - United States

Related Species


Panicum virgatum

Panic Grass, Tall Panic Grass, Wobsqua Grass, Blackbent, Tall Prairiegrass, Wild Redtop, Thatchgrass, Virginia Switchgrass
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Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a warm-season perennial grass. It is commonly used in pastures as a cover crop or to control erosion. It has green leaf blades that have a reddish tint. Reddish seedheads form during late August and September, afterwhich the leaf blades turn pale yellow and the seeds on the panicles turn beige.

Toxic components
Panicum species contain steroidal saponins. If large quantities of steroidal saponins are ingested by horses, it can lead to liver damage and secondary photosensitization in grazing livestock in the USA and Australia. Switchgrass also contains oxalates with varying toxicity levels throughout the different plant parts and cultivars. Highest levels occurring in young, rapidly growing plants.