Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Muhlenbergia reverchonii


Seep muhly


Poaceae (Grass Family)



Muhlenbergia reverchonii (Seep muhly)
Strickland, Sam C.
Seep muhly is a 1-3 1/2 ft. grass with dense tufts of slender stems and foliage. Old basal sheaths form a curly, fibrous mass at the base of the plant. The seed head is delicate, purplish and branching. In central Texas, it hybridizes naturally with the much larger Muhlenbergia lindheimeri to form Muhlenbergia x involuta.

Native to limestone grasslands from central Oklahoma to central Texas, Seep Muhly is sometimes considered a less pink, inland limestone version of Gulf muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), but its most distinctive trait is not its flowering panicles but the curly mass of old leaf blades that accumulates at the base of the grass as it ages. In areas where this grass is well established and abundant, the curly bunches form tussock-like cushions over the hard limestone it prefers and seem to echo the form and texture of the ball moss often growing on nearby trees. It stays slightly smaller than M. capillaris and is not quite as pink when blooming, often tending to bloom more white than pink. Makes a wonderful plant for a meadow, especially if there is a little bit of moisture such as a seep.

The genus of this plant is named for Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815), also Heinrich Ludwig Muehlenberg, or Henry Muhlenberg, who was a German-educated Lutheran minister and the first president of Franklin College, now Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. He is most famous due to his work in the field of botany. An accomplished botanist, chemist, and minerologist, Henry is credited with classifying and naming 150 species of plants in his 1785 work Index Flora Lancastriensis. Muhlenbergs work and collaboration with European botanists led to great advances in the study of plants and earned him the distinction as Americas first outstanding botanist.

Image Gallery:

13 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: 1-3.5
Leaf: green to blue-green to grey-green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: Color varies from whitish to pinkish to beige

Distribution

USA: OK , TX
Native Distribution: Central Oklahoma south to central Texas
Native Habitat: Grassy, limestone slopes; rocky limestone, clay, and caliche prairies.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky or gravelly or loamy limestone, clay, or caliche, calcareous. Dry to moist.
Conditions Comments: In dry or moist, limestone-based grasslands and savannahs, often near seeps. Requires full sun.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Good for limestone prairie restorations within its range.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2010-09-04