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Strickland, Sam C.
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri Hitchc.
Lindheimer's muhly, Big muhly, Lindheimer muhly
Poaceae (Grass Family)
USDA Symbol: muli
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri is a 2-5 ft. perennial bunchgrass with fine foliage and a fountain-like form. Seedheads are silvery.
Native only to the Edwards Plateau of central Texas, Big muhly or Lindheimers muhly has become increasingly popular since the 1980s as an elegant, large-scale specimen grass, large enough for screening. It can be a soft-textured substitute for introduced Pampas grass, which it approaches in stature. Its blue-green leaves and lacy autumn panicles grace live oak (Quercus fusiformis) savannahs and limestone outcrops within its natural range.
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.
The species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
White Bloom Time:
May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov Bloom Notes: Inflorescence
varying from an open, diffuse panicle
to loosely or tightly contracted spike-like, usually 1 flowered.
DistributionUSA: TX Native Distribution: Endemic
to the Edwards Plateau of Texas Native Habitat:
Limestone uplands near streams. On
limestone outcrops, often close by small streams. Well-drained sand, loam, clay, limestone.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, rocky, limestone soils. Limestone-based, Calcareous, Clay, Clay Loam
BenefitUse Ornamental: Useful as a large specimen grass for full sun.
Use Wildlife: Fair to good forage for livestock and wildlife. Leaves provide nesting material for birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High
Seeds Seed Collection:
Collect seed in December. Seed Treatment:
Germinates well, grows fast. Commercially Avail:
The foliage persists through the winter, though most of it will be dormant. Not necessary to cut back during the cold months; if you do, it may be slow to recover. To keep tidy looking, break off old flower
stalks when they become brittle and comb the plant with a leaf rake to remove dead leaves.
National Wetland Indicator Status
|Status:|| FACW |
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Briggs, TXFar South Wholesale Nursery
- Austin, TX
Record Last Modified: 2011-04-03
Research By: TWC Staff, MAC, GDG