E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Muhlenbergia glomerata (Willd.) Trin.
marsh muhly (spiked muhly)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5833)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Muhlenbergia glomerata
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Species Information

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Perennial grass from scaly rhizomes; stems hollow, erect, slightly compressed, unbranched or sparingly branched, the internodes dull, finely short-hairy, 30-120 cm tall.
Sheaths minutely rough, slightly keeled, appressed-hairy at base; blades flat, 2-6 mm wide, 2-15 cm long, minutely rough or occasionally smooth; ligules membranous, jagged to more or less fringed with fine hairs, the tips squared-off, 0.2-0.6 mm long.
Inflorescence a narrow, condensed, spikelike, densely flowered, somewhat lobed panicle, 1.5-12 cm long, 0.3-1.8 cm wide, the branches tightly appressed, 0.2-2.5 cm long, the spikelets densely clustered; spikelets 1-flowered, nearly unstalked to short-stalked; glumes narrow, awl-pointed, 1-nerved, smooth to minutely rough near the tips, nearly equal, usually 1.3-2 times longer than the lemmas, (3) 4-7 (8) mm long, the tips long-pointed, tapering into short awns up to 5 mm long; lemmas lanceolate, 3-nerved, short soft-hairy along the midnerves, margins and at the base, minutely rough near the tips, 1.9-3.1 mm long, the tips long-pointed, unawned or short awn-tipped, the awns up to 1 mm long, minutely rough, the calluses bearded, the hairs short soft-hairy, about 1 mm long; paleas lanceolate, loosely soft-hairy between nerves, about the same length as the lemmas, the tips long-pointed; anthers about 0.8-1.5 mm long, yellowish.
This species has been studied cytologically and most populations appear to be diploid (2n=20) whereas two close relatives, M. mexicana and M. racemosa, are tetraploids (2n=40). Separation of these taxa is often problematic and major differences are emphasized in the key.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist meadows, streambanks, bogs, irrigation ditches, lake margins, and hot springs in the steppe and montane zones; rare in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, NC, KY, IL, IA, NE, CO, UT, NV and NE OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Muhlenbergia glomerata

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 850 1025 1200
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 6
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
270 285 300
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 6 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: ICH(2), IDF(2), SBPS(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Muhlenbergia glomerata var. cinnoides (Link) F.J. Herm.
Muhlenbergia racemosa var. cinnoides (Link) Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References