Muhlenbergia alopecuroides (Griseb.) P.M. Peterson

bristly wolfstail

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Bristly wolfstail is an exotic grass that has been collected from the dump sites of nineteenth-century wool carding factories in Maine. This perennial grass is native to California, where it is considered rare. Its droopy, cylindrical inflorescences resemble "foxtails" more that "wolf's tails."

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Maine
Leaf blade width
1–2 mm
Inflorescence branches
  • the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
  • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
3–4 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has an awn
One or more florets
there is one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
1.5–3 mm
Leaf ligule length
2–12 mm
Anther length
1.5–2 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.5–2 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has an awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume veins
    • 1
    • 3
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    • the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    • there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very congested (crowded), and the branches may not be clearly seen without close inspection
    Inflorescence length
    40–100 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    • the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    • the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn length
    1.5–3 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is V-shaped if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    One or more florets
    there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet length
    3–4 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade width
    1–2 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    2–12 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Maine
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Gastridium phleoides:
glumes exceeding the length of the floret and concealing it, awnless or each glume with a single awn (vs. M. alopecuroides, with glumes shorter than and not concealing the floret, the first glume with 2 or 3 awns, the second with a single awn).
Phleum pratense:
glumes exceeding the length of the floret and concealing it, awnless or each glume with a single awn (vs. M. alopecuroides, with glumes shorter than and not concealing the floret, the first glume with 2 or 3 awns, the second with a single awn).

Synonyms

  • Lycurus alopecuroides Griseb.
  • Lycurus setosus (Nutt.) C.G. Reeder
  • Pleopogon setosus Nutt.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Muhlenbergia

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Muhlenbergia alopecuroides (Griseb.) P.M. Peterson E

bristly wolfstail. Lycurus alopecuroides Griseb.; L. setosus (Nutt.) C.G. Reeder; Pleopogon setosus Nutt. • ME. Wool waste. This species has long been reported as Muhlenbergia phleoides (Kunth) P.M. Peterson (synonym: Lycurus phleoides Kunth). However, introduced plants in New England show upper leaf blades terminating in an elongate, fragile awn tip 
and relatively long ligules (mostly longer than 3 mm). Muhlenbergia phleoides has upper blades lacking an awn tip or with a very short one and ligules mostly shorter than 3 mm.