Muhlenbergia capillaris (Lam.) Trin.

hair-awned muhly

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Hair-awned muhly is a rare native from Connecticut and Massachusetts. It inhabits rocky forests and woodlands where it occurs on ridges and trap rock. Fire increases seed production, and may facilitate population growth, but New England occurrences appear to be in decline. From a distance the diffusely-branched, long-awned inflorescences form a reddish, mist-like cloud, making this species popular in horticulture.

Habitat

Cliffs, balds, or ledges, forests, ridges or ledges, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
Leaf blade width
2–4 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
3–5 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
0–18 mm
Leaf ligule length
1.8–10 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
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence length
    150–600 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    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
    0–18 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma has hairs at the base
    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)
    Lemma vein number
    3
    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
    3–5 mm
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    10–50 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
    2–4 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    1.8–10 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
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • forests
    • ridges or ledges
    • woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
historical (S-rank: SH), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)

var. capillaris

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Muhlenbergia uniflora:
lemmas without an awn, leaf blades 0.8–2 mm wide, and pedicels mostly 3–7 mm long (vs. M. capillaris, with lemmas usually with an awn 2–18 mm long, leaf blades 2–4 mm wide, and pedicels mostly 10–40).
Apera spica-venti:
glumes as long as or longer than the lemma and the lemma awn inserted just below the apex and between the terminal teeth of the lemma (vs. M. capillaris, with glumes shorter than the lemma and the lemma awn inserted at the apex of the lemma).

Synonyms

  • Stipa capillaris Lam.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Muhlenbergia

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Muhlenbergia capillaris (Lam.) Trin. NC

hair-awned muhly. Stipa capillaris Lam. • CT, MA. Rocky forests and woodlands, ridges, ledges, often occurring on trap rock.