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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

63. Poaceae, the Grass Family

18. Muhlenbergia Schreb. -- Muhly

3. Muhlenbergia mexicana (L.) Trin. -- Wirestem muhly


Perennial 2-8 dm tall from stout, scaly rhizomes; culms erect or sometimes decumbent at the base, often branching from the nodes; internodes dull and puberulent, especially toward the summit. Leaves flat, mostly 5-15 cm long, 2-6 mm wide; sheaths glabrous, the ligule entire to erose-ciliolate, 0.5-1 mm long. Panicle contracted, densely flowered and glomerulate or sometimes more loosely flowered and very slender, often interrupted, 3-12 cm long, 2-10 mm thick. Spikelets crowded, usually appressed in glomerules, green or purplish; glumes subequal, narrowly lanceolate, acuminate or short-awned, shorter than to equaling the floret, sometimes barely surpassing it, 2.5-4 mm long, the awns, if present, to 1.5 mm long; lemma lanceolate, acuminate or rarely short-awned, 2-3 mm long; anthers 0.3-0.5 mm long. Grain brown, narrowly ellipsoid, 1.5-2 mm long. Aug--Sep. Wet meadows, seepage areas, springs, fens and stream banks; occasional; (WI to Alta., s to IL, OK, NM and AZ). M. foliosa (R. & S.) Trin.
GIF- Species Photo/Drawing
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Muhlenbergia glomerata (Willd.) Trin. -- Bristly muhly
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass Family
Next Section -- Muhlenbergia racemosa (Trin.) Rydb. -- Marsh muhly, green muhly

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