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Products > Muhlenbergia asperifolia
Muhlenbergia asperifolia - Alkali Muhly
Image of Muhlenbergia asperifolia
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: North America
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Tan
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Muhlenbergia asperifolia (Alkali Muhly) - A rhizomatous perennial grass with long slender solid stem culms that grow into thick clumps up to two feet tall or grows decumbent sprawling through or over other plants and bearing long narrow scabrous leaves. From early summer into fall appear at culm tips the open and wispy 6 inch long inflorescence having many hair-thin outstretched branches tipped by tiney spikelets. Plant in full sun to part shade and irrigate infrequently. Hardy to at least 0 F. This is a very interesting grass that creates a dense groundcover or sprawls over and around other plants with the open panicles of flowers catching light in a very attractive manner. We like it for its ornamental qualities but it is also a valuable grass for habitat restoration and revegetation projects in disturbed habitat in the Southwest US. It is native to moist meadows, sandy washes, canyon bottoms, grassy slopes, rocky and sandy slopes and around seeps and hot springs from 180 to 10,000 feet in elevation in western North America from Canada south into Mexico. The German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber (1739-1810) named the genus for clergyman and botanist Gotthilf Heinrich (Henry) Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815) who was American born but returned to his ancestral Germany for schooling and later returned to America. Ths specific epithet is from the two Latin words 'asper', meaning "rough" and 'folia', meaning "leaf" in reference to the rough texture of this plant's leaves. It is this texture that also gives it the alternative common name Scratchgrass. We first encountered this grass while driving down Titus Canyon in Death Valley with the "Grassman" John Greenlee - it intrigued us then as it still does today. 

Information about Muhlenbergia asperifolia displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.