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 Edible Plants Questions

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
view the full question and answer

Wild onions in southwest Michigan
June 06, 2007 - During the spring every year there are "Volunteer Onions" that grow in my lawn and garden. I live in Michigan, sw. question---are these onions? what are they--they smell like onions--- can they be e...
view the full question and answer

Information on cherry trees from Santa Fe
May 23, 2010 - 1.does the purple leaf sand cherry have edible fruits? size, flavor, cross pollinator necessary, fruiting time? cultivars? zone, soil, light, water? 2. fall foliage color of 'Meteor" cherry tree?
view the full question and answer

Are flower petals poisonous?
December 01, 2008 - Is it toxic to eat the petals on a flower? Ashley
view the full question and answer

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