Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Slim-flower Muhly - Muhlenbergia tenuiflora   (Willdenow) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
Members of Muhlenbergia with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
Author(Willdenow) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
DistributionMountains and uppermost Piedmont; disjunct to Richmond (ledge beside the Pee Dee River) and Wake (Umstead State Park) counties in the lower Piedmont. Ought to occur in other Piedmont counties, as in VA it is found over much of that province.

NH to WI and NE, south to GA, MS, and OK.
AbundanceFrequent in the mountains; uncommon in the foothills, and very rare east to the Fall Line region.
HabitatRocky to moist/rich deciduous woodlands and forests, and openings in them; atop a riverside ledge (Richmond County); "firelane" in Umstead SP (Wake County). Soils are usually circumneutral.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationThis graceful grass grows 1-2.5 feet tall, rarely to 3 feet, and with a long, slender inflorescence. The spikelets are generally appressed to the stalk. In overall gestalt, it most resembles M. sobolifera, but the latter differs in lacking an awn on the lemma (occasionally present but if so under 1 mm long) vs. an awn up to 12 mm long.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

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)Slender Muhly, Slender Satin-grass
State RankS3? [S3]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type