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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Wirestem Muhly - Muhlenbergia mexicana

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Muhlenbergia mexicana has not been documented in Montana. A 2001 specimen was re-determined to be Muhlenbergia glomerata, which closely resemble one another. There is potential for it to occur in Montana. Potential specimens should be provided to and verified at one of our State Herbaria (University of Montana, Montana State University, or Montana State University-Billings). A conservation status rank is not applicable (SNA) because this plant is not known to occur in Montana.
General Description
Perennials from long, scaly rhizomes. Stems 30-100 cm tall, ascending to erect, branching from middle and above. Leaf sheaths mostly glabrous; blades lax, flat, 4-15 cm long, 1.5-6 mm wide, scaberulous; ligules 0.4-1.5 mm long, truncate to acute. Panicles 3-21 cm long, 2-12 mm wide, terminal and axillary, narrow, often interrupted and partially included in uppermost sheath; branches mostly erect, spikelet-bearing thorughout. Callus hairs 0.2-1.5 mm long. Spikelets 2-4.4 mm long, one-flowered, pale green or purple-tinged. Glumes subequal, 2-4.4 mm long, 1-nerved, the midnerves extending into an awn 0.5-1.5 mm long; lemmas 2-3.8 mm long, 3-nerved, awned to about 6 mm long; paleas about length of lemma; anthers 0.3-0.5 mm long (adapted from: Welsh et al., 1993, A Utah Flora, 2nd ed.).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Muhlenbergia glomerata and Muhlenbergia racemosa are similar species that are known to occur in Montana.

Range Comments
BC to NS, south to CA, TX, AR, and VA (Kartesz in prep. 2012). Collected in Carbon County, MT, in 2001 at Bighorn National Recreation Area by Bonnie Heidel (no. 2104) (Rocky Mountain Herbarium website, accessed 3 January 2013).

Wet areas, sometimes in woodlands, often in disturbed sites.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Brey, C.W. 1998. Epidemiology of wheat curl mite (Aceria tosichella K.) and wheat streak mosaic virus on feral grass species and effect of glyphosate on wheat curl mite dispersal. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 136 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Wirestem Muhly — Muhlenbergia mexicana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from