Plant Guide > Grasses > Muhlenbergia Grass

Muhlenbergia Grass


With one exception the common species of this genus are unattractive grasses, which, although they add the verdure of their leaves to waysides and to country dooryards, bear but inconspicuous flowering-heads of little beauty.

As the Muhlenbergias are native grasses they are found in many localities, and grow from open woods to dry fields and on moist banks of streams. In certain soils the tough, matted root stocks are but too frequently seen in gardens.

The smooth stems, rising in early summer, are very leafy, but as the season advances and the stems lengthen the leaves thereby become more remote, and in maturity the grasses are hard and wiry. All the species bloom in late summer, and throughout the season the fresh plants have a taste peculiar to the genus.

Wood Muhlenbergia (Muhlenbergia sylvatica) and Nimble Wil (Muhlenbergia sylvatica) and Nimble Will (Muhlenbergia Schreberi) are frequent along the borders of woods, and in rocky places one naturally looks for Rock Muhlenbergia (Muhlenbergia sobolifera).

These are slender grasses that are usually much branched and that bear narrow, spike-like particles of small, green flowers.

Marsh Muhlenberbia (Muhlenbergia racemosa) grows in wet places and has much stouter and more compact flowering-heads, which sometimes resemble spikes of Timothy.

Meadow Muhlenbergia frequently grows near dwelling houses, where in early summer it offers the contrast of spreading clumps of yellowish green leaves to the darker colour of June Grass and Orchard Grass.

Meadow Muhlenberbia is the last of the common dooryard grasses to bloom, and after one has watched the branching stems the season through, and has waited with curiosity for the blossoms to appear, there is small reward in seeing but short panicles of tiny green and lead-coloured Powers.

The more slender Nimble Will, mentioned before, is also found in dooryards, where it hastily spreads wherever it has opportunity. Long-awned Hair-grass is found only on dry soil and is a delicate and beautiful grass, very distinct in appearance from our other species of Muhlenbergia. The gossamer-like, purple panicles are long and glistening, while the awned, solitary flowers are borne on such widely spreading pedicels that the flowering heads are frequently a foot across, and in late summer are gauze-like and graceful until the first frost touches them.

Long Awned Hair Grass
Mexican Dropseed Grass