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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

63. Poaceae, the Grass Family

18. Muhlenbergia Schreb. -- Muhly

2. Muhlenbergia glomerata (Willd.) Trin. -- Bristly muhly


Perennial 3-8 dm tall from stout scaly rhizomes; culms erect, unbranched or branching from the base, the internodes dull, puberulent. Leaves flat, mostly 6-12 cm long, 2-6 mm wide; sheaths glabrous, the ligule truncate, erose-ciliate at the tip, 0.2-0.6 mm long. Panicle contracted, usually densely flowered, glomerulate, often interrupted, (1)2-11 cm long, 4-10 mm thick. Spikelets crowded and appressed in the glomerules, green or purplish; glumes subequal, the first a little shorter than the second, subulate, awned, the bodies 1.5-3 mm long, the awn 1-5 mm long, both glumes (including the awns) much surpassing the floret, 1.3-2X as long as the lemma; lemma lanceolate, acuminate or rarely short-awned, 2-3 mm long, pilose on the callus, pubescent along the margins nearly to the tip; anthers 0.8-1.5 mm long. Grain brown to dark brown, oblong, 1-1.2 mm long. Aug--Sep. Wet meadows, springs, fens and boggy areas; uncommon from c and e ND to n NE; (Newf. and Que. to N.W.Terr. and B.C., s to WV, IN, IA, NE, CO, UT and OR).

The segregation of M. glomerata from the much more common M. racemosa is supported by cytological and ecological evidence, as well as morphological evidence. The diploid M. glomerata is restricted to permanently wet habitats whereas the tetraploid M. racemosa occurs in a variety of upland as well as lowland habitats.

GIF- Species Photo/Drawing

Muhlenbergia glomerata (from Hitchcock 1950).
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Muhlenbergia asperifolia (Nees & Meyen) Parodi -- Alkali muhly
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass Family
Next Section -- Muhlenbergia mexicana (L.) Trin. -- Wirestem muhly

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