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Products > Muhlenbergia capillaris
Muhlenbergia capillaris - Hairy Awn Muhly
Image of Muhlenbergia capillaris
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: Gulf of Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Fall
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: <15° F
Muhlenbergia capillaris (Hairy Awn Muhly) - A beautiful warm season grass from the Southeastern United States with stunning pink airy flowering panicles that hover cloud-like above the fine textured olive-green foliage. The foliage of this grass reaches to nearly 2 feet tall with the flowers topping 3 feet. The flowers first appear in September and remain pink for over a month, slowly aging to brown into winter. Cut back the plants when first becoming dormant or leave as an attractive brown accent until early spring.

Plant in full to part day sun. Although this grass comes from moister habitats, it is surprisingly drought resistant but looks best with an occasional watering.

The nomenclature is not entirely clear on this grass. According to the Grass Manual for the Flora of North America, there are at least 3 very similar grasses with Muhlenbergia capillaris, the smaller grass, rarely exceeding 3 feet that comes from a wide area of the southeastern United States, from Texas to Florida and north up into New England, and south into Mexico, the Bahamas, and possibly various Caribbean islands. Another very similar grass, once called Muhlenbergia capillaris var. filipes but now elevated to species level is Muhlenbergia sericea, a name resurrected because it has priority as an older name. It is a larger plant, from 3 to 4 feet tall, that comes from sandy maritime habitats on the barrier islands and in coastal woodlands of the southeastern United States. A third very similar but small grass is Muhlenbergia rigida, which is described as a common upland bunchgrass, also grown as an ornamental plant, that grows in two disjunct areas: the southwestern United States south to Chiapas, Mexico, and in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. For the time being we are still calling this plant Muhlenbergia capillaris as it is treated this way by a majority in the horticultural community. The name Muhlenbergia honors Gotthilf Heinrich (Henry) Ernst Muhlenberg (1753–1815), an American clergyman and botanist from Pennsylvania. The specific epithet means “hair-like” from the Latin words 'capillus' meaning "hair" and the connecting suffix 'aris' that means "of" or "pertaining to".

We first listed this grass in our 1993 catalog, shortly after John Greenlee introduced it to us and to many of our customers at our 1992 Field Day - the collective "Ohhh" from the audience could only be matched by the reaction to his presentation of the beautiful Muhlenbergia sericea 'White Cloud' at our 2010 Field Day. 

This information about Muhlenbergia capillaris displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.