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Plant - fall
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Muhlenbergia fragilis - delicate muhly
Other Common Names: annual muhly

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Seedhead - fall

Casner Canyon, NE of Sedona Max Licher @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Plant image

Casner Canyon, NE of Sedona Max Licher @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Moist sandy or gravelly soil of valley flats and on dry slopes, desert scrub to pine forests.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest
Elevation: 2400 - 6500 feet

Similar Species: Muhlenbergia sinuosa, Muhlenbergia minutissima

General Description

Desc: Delicate annual grass small with most of the plant being a delicate seedhead.
Identification notes: Annual; stems abruptly bent, ascending, freely branched from the base; seedhead often purplish, up to 15 inches; blades flat or folded, up to 3 inches; lemmas awnless; glumes glabrous. Spikelet stems of M. sinuosa, M. minutissima are thread-like.
Grass Type: Annual  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Aug - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Absent   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead often purple, very open and readily breaking off at maturity, up to 15 inches long or more, diffuse and fragile. Spikelets less than 1/16 inch long, glumes 1/2 length of spikelets, 1 nerved, not hairy. Lemmas silky (hairy) on keel and margin.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: Y  Blade Cross Section: Flat or folded  
Blade Notes: Blade 3/4 to 2-1/4 inches long, 1/16 inch wide, thickened white margins and white mid-nerve.
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 often longer than the internodes, slightly rough, margins colorless and translucent; ligules to 1/8 inch, colorless and translucent, blunt or rounded, irregularly toothed to torn or irregularly cleft, with lateral lobes.

Forage Value: Not available.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Content Questions/Comments: Email Matt Halldorson  
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