Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Cut-over Muhly - Muhlenbergia expansa   (Poiret) Trinius
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Muhlenbergia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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Author(Poiret) Trinius
DistributionCoastal Plain and Sandhills only; ranging north only to Washington, Martin, and Wake counties.

Coastal Plain, southeastern VA to central FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFrequent throughout. Not yet recorded from the far northeastern counties.
HabitatWet pine savannas and flatwoods, blackwater streamhead ecotones, pitcher-plant seepage bogs -- all subject to frequent fires.
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-October.
IdentificationOverall, this species is similar to M. capillaris and may occur within 50 yards of it. The inflorescence is whitish and never takes on the pink or reddish hues of M. capillaris. The glume bodies are 2-2.3 mm long (vs. 0.7-1.7 mm long in that species). Apparently it is never found in maritime communities, as opposed to M. sericea.
Taxonomic CommentsSome authors lump it with M. sericea and M. capillaris, but those are clearly distinct species; see the discussion by Weakley (2018).

In NC the genus Muhlenbergia assumes 2 very different forms of inflorescences: very open and airy or narrow and elongate, with short branches. In both cases, attention to details of the key is important, along with a dissecting scope. Once learned, however, most muhlys can be identified on sight in the field. Spikelets contain a single floret (rarely 2-3).
Other Common Name(s)Savanna Hairgrass is a more descriptive name. Spreading Muhly.
State RankS4
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSame place, Nov 2021. ScotlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, dry-mesic wiregrass slope, Oct 2014. ScotlandPhoto_natural

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