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Plant - summer
Willow Lake
Sue Smith
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Muhlenbergia torreyi - ring muhly

Synonyms: Muhlenbergia gracillima

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Rings form when center dies ou

Willow Lake Sue Smith
Plant image

Willow Lake Sue Smith
Plant image

Willow Lake Sue Smith
Plant image

Willow Lake Sue Smith
Plant image

Willow Lake Sue Smith
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Grows on dry ridges, sandy mesas, calcareous rock outcrops, and rocky slopes.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 4000 - 6500 feet

General Description

Desc: Ring muhly derives its name from the peculiar growth habit it characteristically develops. As the basal tuft becomes larger with continued growth, the center dies out, leaving a ring several inches to a few feet in diameter.
Identification notes: Seedhead is open and diffuse, usually less than 6 inches tall; leaf blades are usually curved like a sickle and no more than 3 inches long; often grows in patches that form rings.
Grass Type: Perennial mat or sod-forming  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): Y
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jul - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Less than 1/4 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: U

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead open, often purple, much branched, branches fine and spreading. Pedicels are as long or longer than the spikelets.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Involute  
Blade Notes: Blades numerous, slender to the point of being threadlike, curved rather like a bow and inrolled at the edges; from 3/8-3/4 inch long.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths shorter than the internodes, rounded, not keeled, rough or smooth, not becoming spirally coiled when old; ligules 2-5 mm, colorless and translucent, gradually tapering to a point, torn or irregularly cleft, often with lateral lobes.

Forage Value: Fair palatability before midsummer, this is not a good forage species and its chief value is as a soil-binder on denuded range lands.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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