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Grass, Gulf Muhly (native)
Grass, Gulf Muhly (native)

Grass, Gulf Muhly (native)

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Gulf Muhly
Scientific Name: Muhlenbergia capillaris var. capillaris
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History/general species info: Voted 2012 plant of the year by the Garden Club of America. Also known as hairawn muhly.  Named for Henry Muhlenberg, who was a German-educated Lutheran minister credited with classifying and naming 150 species of plants. His 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.

Characteristics: Perennial. Hardy and drought tolerant native ornamental grass. Striking and beautiful clumping grass when observed in flower or fruit.  Delicately branched and spreading red cloud-like inflorescence in the fall. During the summer, the leaves stay green, and in the fall turn to a brown-copper staying healthy till the end of autumn. The clumping habit makes it excellent for use as wildlife cover, such as nests and shelter for native birds.

Native: Yes 

Flower: reddish-pink

Planting / Care: Deer resistant. Low maintenance. Grows in sand and sandy loam. Plant in full sun. Requires low to medium water. Salt tolerant. Cut back the plants when first becoming dormant or leave as an attractive brown accent until early spring. Although this grass comes from moister habitats it is surprisingly drought resistant but looks best with an occasional watering. 

Height: 3’   

Spread: 3'

Light requirement: Sun 

Wildlife: The clumping habit makes it excellent for use as wildlife cover,[3] such as nests and shelter for native birds.


A&M Horticulture

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Photo credits: Flickr, Texas A&M