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Plant Profile: Pine Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia dubia)

This evergreen, clump-forming, perennial grass is native to higher elevations of eastern Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas, and northern Mexico, and belongs to the grass family, Poaceae, that also includes bamboo, rice, and corn.  Plants form dense fine-textured mounds of narrow  leaves 1-3′ tall.   In late summer and fall  3-4′ long erect spikes carry cream colored flowers that turn tan as they mature.   Pine muhly grass resembles California deer grass (M. rigens) but is only about half the size so is suitable for smaller gardens.  Since pine muhly grass is heat and drought resistant it is a good choice for xeriscapes and can be used as a hedge, accent plant, or groundcover, and in containers. The genus name, Muhlenbegia, honors German-American Gotthilf Heinrich (Henry) Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815), a Lutheran minister and botany enthusiast.  The specific epithet, dubia, is the Latin word meaning doubtful or uncertain, and refers to the fact that this species does not conform to the norms of the genus.  

Type: Evergreen perennial grass

Bloom: Cream colored spikes in late summer and early fall

Size: 1-3′ H x 3-4′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, dry to medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Care: Cut back in late winter.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division

Companion Plants: Agave, yucca, black-eyed Susan