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Muhlenbergia reverchonii Vasey & Scribn.
Poaceae (Grass Family)
USDA Symbol: mure2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Seep Muhly is a 1-3 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 and then further south into central Mexico, Seep Muhly is sometimes said to resemble 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. 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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: green to blue-green to grey-green
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: Color varies from whitish to pinkish to beige
DistributionUSA: OK , TX
Native Distribution: Central Oklahoma south to central Texas, then south to Puebla and Tlaxcala in central Mexico
Native Habitat: Grassy, limestone slopes; rocky limestone, clay, and caliche prairies.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky or gravelly or loamy limestone, clay, or caliche, calcareous. Dry to moist.
Conditions Comments: In dry or moist, limestone-based grasslands and savannahs, often near seeps. Requires full sun.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Good for limestone prairie restorations within its range.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect seed November.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
BibliographyBibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Muhlenbergia reverchonii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Muhlenbergia reverchonii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Muhlenbergia reverchonii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-01-25
Research By: TWC Staff, MAC, GDG