Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 07, 2016

From: Manor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Lindheimer's Muhly Grass Seeds for Human Use?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Does anyone know if Lindheimer's Muhly seeds were ever used as human food source?

ANSWER:

A search of the internet did not result in any reference to Muhlenbergia lindheimeri as being used for human food. There are references for the flower stalks of many Muhlenbergia species being used in coiled baskets by native peoples in North America.

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri is a 2-5 ft. perennial bunchgrass with fine foliage and a fountain-like form. Seedheads are silvery.

Native from the Edwards Plateau of central Texas south to northern Mexico, 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.

 
 

From the Image Gallery


Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Hillside Erosion in Pace FL
July 17, 2015 - I have a hillside that slopes down about 10 feet to a spring fed pond. The pond drains into Escambia Bay. We have 2 dams with culverts to control the flow of water. Last year during a torrential ra...
view the full question and answer

Native lawn solution for Southeast Texas from Missouri City TX
May 05, 2012 - I noticed the native lawn article regarding Habiturf states it is for "North, West and Central Texas". What is the recommended native lawn solution for Southeast Texas/Gulf Coast (Houston/Galveston...
view the full question and answer

Substitute for Habiturf in Fullerton, CA
March 27, 2015 - Will habiturf grow/thrive in 92835 zip code? I think Im on 10a or 10b hardiness. I have clay soil. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Native fescues and sedges for turf in New York
July 25, 2006 - Hello, Came across your contact info while googling and hoped you could help answer a question or direct me to another resource that can. I am looking to redo my entire landscaping with native NY ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for chain link fenceline in Nash, TX
April 29, 2009 - I have chain link fence all the way around my yard and I am getting tired of having to weed eat along the fence line. I am looking for some type of year round decorative plant or grass (preferably on...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.