Panicum hemitomon

maidencane, mountain panic, paille fine


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin


Leaf Type

cauline, simple

Leaf Shape


Growth Form

graminoid, emergent aquatic, aquatic

Flower Color


Flower Month

April - October

Height (meters)

0.5 - 1.5

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Cultural Information

Seed germination for most members of the panicum is improved by cold/moist stratification, although many may be planted fresh (Steffen 1997).

Animal Use

This information is for the genera Panicum and Dicanthelium with note that, because of abundance and distribution, it is one of the country's most important food sources for ground-feeding songbirds and gamebirds. It is also valuable as livestock forage: Animals that eat its seeds: Purple gallinule, Sora rail, Pectoral sandpiper, Ground dove, Mourning dove, Eastern white-winged dove, Bobwhite quail, Wild turkey, Woodcock, Redwing blackbird, Painted bunting, Cardinal, Cowbird, Brown creeper, Dickcissel, Blue grosbeak, Junco, Meadowlark, American and sprague pipit, Pyrrhuloxia, Chipping, vesper and white-throated sparrows, Pine-woods and tree sparrow, English, Harris, Henslow, Ipswich and sharp-tailed sparrows, Field, grasshopper, song, swamp and white-crowned sparrows, Savannah sparrow, Towhee, Pine warbler. Animals that eat the young plants and its seed: Baldpate and blue-winged teal, Florida and green-winged teal, Gadwall duck, Blue and canada goose, Snow goose, White-fronted goose. Animals that eat the plants: Antelope, White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951). Maidencane produces high quality forage yearlong when not killed by frost.

Natural History

Maiden-cane was found to be a dominate at the interface of wet prairie and marsh at the only wet prairie site studied. It had spread into the area between the mena mounds (mounds of unknown origin often found associated with coastal prairie) but was absent from the tops of the mounds. It spreads by underground runners and may occur in extensive, almost pure stands. Maidencane produces 4 to 5 tons of herbage per acre. When cut at a young stage it makes excellent hay. When mature it is tougher and less palatable. It is reported to contain over 9% protein (Grelen and Hughes 1984). The seeds of many Panicums were used as food in the Southwest, however, their importance as a food source was limited because they drop their seeds quickly after ripening (Doebley 1983). The Acadian French name for maiden-cane is "Paille fine" meaning "fine straw" (Holmes 1990). It is found frequently in coastal marsh and infrequently in wet areas in the inland part of Louisiana and east Texas. It occurs in the coastal states from North Carolina to Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. It is also reported from Brazil.


Marshes, pools, ditches, ponds. streams, and on the margins of wet prairie.