Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:

Muhlenbergia porteri

Muhlenbergia porteri Scribn. ex Beal

Bush Muhly

Poaceae (Grass Family)


USDA Symbol: MUPO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Bush muhly is a 1-3 ft., bushy, semi-woody perennial grass with wiry, spreading culms more or less branched from all nodes. The slender branches and branchlets are brittle and bear few, long-pediceled spikelets which taper into a delicate awn. The scale subtending the spikelet is purple.

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. Muhlenberg's work and collaboration with European botanists led to great advances in the study of plants and earned him the distinction as America's first outstanding botanist.


From the Image Gallery

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , OK , TX , UT
Native Distribution: W. TX to CO, NV & s. CA; also n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry mesas & arroyos; rocky slopes; 2000 to 6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Muhlenbergia porteri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Muhlenbergia porteri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Muhlenbergia porteri


Record Modified: 2009-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back