Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not Quite Muhly Grass

Yesterday I wrote about Muhlenbergia capillaris, commonly called Gulf Muhly Grass. Alison mentioned that it did poorly in her PNW garden. Today Peter showed us a rough pink grass he saw in Alaska not quite suitable because of issues with the seed heads. I mis-identified a grass that blooms pink here in the spring as Eragrostis spp. as a substitute where pink blooms are wanted. Actually this is Agrostis hyemalis.

Agrostis hyemalis, not Eragrostis

This is Eragrostis, Love Grass 2011, half the size of Muhly.

This is Gulf Muhly, 2012

Eragrostis is native to much of the eastern half of the U S. As best as I can determine, Muhly and Love Grass are related but do not come from a common ancestor. 

I had Eragostis in my garden before I knew its name. I dug it off the roadside. It finally died out because it was not in an ideal location. I may try again.

Agrostis hyemalis is a perennial grass that blooms in early spring, opposite the fall grasses that also bloom pink.

It has not been easy for me to stop considering grasses as forage, hay or weeds and start to think of them as other than either lawn or weedy in the garden.


  1. A beautiful grass indeed but I'm still in love with your Muhly Grass - so beautiful. Another plant to be loved from afar!

  2. It took me a while to realize the merits of ornamental grasses in the garden. It wasn't until I rally started to look at the possibilities of different kinds of foliage that I started to use them better. Now I love Panicum and Schyzachirium for the colors and the spiky accents that their blades offer. Thanks for bringing Eragrostis to my attention. I might give that a try.

  3. Interesting thoughts! What helped me was in college, driving across 600+ miles of grasslands between Denver and Oklahoma...later, I wondered, "why don't we use grasses more?" Then I saw native grasses used as clumps in the desert with bold plants, and it became real...now I often use them.

    And your native, Gulf Muhly thrives in my old home and my new...my guess is it loves our long summers. I only wish ours' stayed pink into winter, like I've seen in the Fla peninsula!


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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