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.
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