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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - June 06, 2011

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Source for Bamboo muhly from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello. Do you know a source in Texas for Bamboo Muhly? Thanks in advance for your help.

ANSWER:

Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass) does not appear in our Native Plant Database; however, it is a native of Arizona and Northern New Mexico and thus qualifies as a native of North America, which is the focus and expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It somewhat resembles bamboo, thus the common name, with the feathery fern-like tops and thick stalks. However, it does not resemble the non-native bamboo in invasiveness. It spreads slowly from underground stolons, eventually forming a clump 4-5 feet wide and tall. It will grow in full sun or part shade, is considered hardy down to 10 degrees and is deer resistant. According to this USDA Plant Profile, this plant is endemic to Arizona. From the website Xeriscape Landscaping Plants for the Arizona Desert Environment, we found this non-advertising information on the grass.

Without an entry in our Native Plant Database, we cannot tell you whether or not it could survive in Houston. It is really a desert plant, and Houston is not desert.

San Marcos Growers has a webpage on this plant, and you can apparently order from them. There is a Plant Info sheet on this grass from Mountain States Wholesale Nursery and we are assuming you can order from them. Our usual native grass seed go-to place, Native American Seed, does not list the grass in their online catalog.

 


 

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