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Plant Database Search Results > Muhlenbergia sericea 'White Cloud'
Muhlenbergia sericea 'White Cloud' - White Awn Muhly
Image of Muhlenbergia sericea 'White Cloud'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: Southeast US (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Synonyms: [M. capillaris var. filipes, M. capillaris cv.]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Muhlenbergia sericea 'White Cloud' (White Awn Muhly) - A medium-sized grass forming a clump of narrow blue-green foliage 2 to 3 feet tall and in fall the flower stems rise another foot or more above the foliage holding an airy mass of delicate ivory-white flowers that can last through winter depending on the climate. It is a little larger and stiffer with a more upright habit than the familiar Pink Muhly, Muhlenbergia capillaris, and it also blooms a little later.

Plant in full sun in a wide range of soils. It is fairly drought tolerant, but this southeastern US grass will likely appreciate occasional irrigation in our dry California climate. Noted as hardy to USDA Zone 6 but flowers are apt to last through to spring in Zones 9 and above and it reportedly is resistant to deer predation. A great new grass for a stunning look in mass plantings and with its soft white flowers it combines well with many other plants.

Muhlenbergia sericea grows naturally in sandy maritime habitats on the barrier islands and in coastal woodlands of the southeastern United States. The German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber (1739-1810) named the genus for Gotthilf Heinrich (Henry) Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815) who was American born but returned to his ancestral Germany for schooling and later returned to America. He was an ordained Lutheran minister but devoted his free time to the study of the botany. The specific epithet is the Latin word meaning "silky", in reference to this species' very soft open inflorescences.

There has long been controversy regarding the Muhlenbergia capillaris in the trade and how it differs from the larger and more southerly restricted Muhlenbergia capillaris var. filipes, that more recently has been elevated to species level as Muhlenbergia sericea in the Flora of North America. We long suspected that 'White Cloud' better fit with this species and others are in agreement on this, so we now list this cultivar under this species. We also grow the large Gulf Muhly, 'Muhlenbergia sericea, that this plant is considered to be a selection of.

The 'White Cloud' cultivar was introduced by Superior Trees Nursery of Lee, Florida. We were fortunate to see a planting at John Greenlee's Pomona nursery garden in 2009 and John shocked the crowd when he spoke about it at our 2010 open house Field Day. Our customers have been hounding us ever since and in 2012 we were finally able to have crops to sell. 

This information about Muhlenbergia sericea 'White Cloud' 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.