U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Casler, M.D., R.B. Mitchell, and K.P. Vogel. 2012. Switchgrass. p. 563-590. In: C. Kole, CP. Joshi, and D.R. Shonnard (Eds.). Handbook of Bioenergy Crop Plants. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Rotan, FL.


U.S. Government work.


Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a tall, erect, warm-season perennial native to the tall grass prairie, oak savanna, and associated ecosystems of North America. It can be found in prairies, open woodlands, and brackish marshes east of the Rocky Mountains and generally south of 55° north latitude (Hitchcock 1951; Stubbendieck et al. 1991). Less than 1% of these ecosystems exist today, but these prairie and savanna remnants have served as in situ gene banks, preserving a vast amount of genetic diversity within switchgrass and many other plant species. Switchgrass has a diversity of uses as well, including pasture, hay production, biomass for energy production, soil and water conservation, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat.