Muhlenbergia capillaris

gulf coast muhly, hairawn muhly, gulf muhly, hair-awn muhly, hairy-awn muhly, hair grass, pink muhly
Family

Poaceae

Leaf Arrangement

alternate

Leaf Type

simple

Leaf Shape

linear

Growth Form

graminoid

Flower Color

pink, purple

Flower Month

June - November

Height (meters)

0.5 - 1.2

Milky Sap

No

Armed/Unarmed

Unarmed

Origin

native

Lifespan

perennial

Growing Season

Warm season


Wetland Class

FACU

Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism

8

Field Characters

Leaf blades rolled and narrow, inflorescence large, gauzy and purple, florets are single at branch tips with thin awn. The inflorescence resembles Eragrostis sp. except that Muhlenbergia has one floret at the end of each ray while Eragrostis has many and Muhlenbergia usually has narrower leaves. Sterile plants of Muhlenbergia capillaris may be confused with those of Spartina patens and Spartina spartinae. Spartinae is easily identified by its sharp pointed leaf tips and the absence of cauline leaves. Spartina patens has ligule that is a 1-1.5 mm long fringe of hairs distinguishing it from Muhlenbergia capillaris which has a ligule that is 2-3 mm long and membranous.

Cultural Information

Seed germination of members of the genus Muhlenbergia is improved by cold/moist stratification (Steffen 1997). Seeds average appproximately 2,600,000/lb.

Animal Use

Poor forage.

Natural History

The seeds of some species of Muhlenbergia were used to make flour by the Mescalero and Chiricahua Apache Indians (Opler 1936). It ranges throughout eastern United States. A common and important grass in coastal prairie.

Habitat

Sandy prairies and openings in pine forests, dry woods, and savannahs.