Muhlenbergia asperifolia (Nees & Meyen ex Trin.) Parodi
alkali muhly (scratchgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #72921)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Muhlenbergia asperifolia
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial grass from well-developed rhizomes, occasionally from stolons; stems solid, decumbent to erect, slightly flattened, smooth, 10-60 (100) cm tall.
Sheaths smooth, slightly keeled and compressed near the base, strongly over-lapping; blades crowded, flat, occasionally folded, 1-2.8 (4) mm wide, 2-7 (11) cm long, smooth to minutely rough beneath, minutely rough above; ligules firm, fringed with fine hairs, squared-off at the tips, 0.2-1 mm long.
Inflorescence an open, broadly egg-shaped panicle, 6-21 cm long, (2.5) 4-15 cm wide, ultimately deciduous, the branches hairlike, 3-12 cm long, ascending, spreading 30-90degree from stem axis at maturity; spikelets occasionally 2- or 3-flowered, on long, slender, hairlike stalks; glumes purplish, more or less below, especially along the nerves, 1-nerved, slightly unequal, 0.6-1.7 mm long, the tips sharp-pointed; lemmas lanceolate to oblong-elliptical, somewhat greyish, smooth, occasionally minutely rough near the tips, 1.2-2.1 mm long, somewhat longer than the glumes (up to 1/2 again as long), sharp-pointed, unawned or minutely awn-tipped; paleas lanceolate, smooth, 1.2-2.1 mm long, the tips sharp-pointed; anthers 1-1.3 mm long, greenish-yellow to purplish at maturity.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


Ecological Framework for Muhlenbergia asperifolia

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)
867 745 1000
Slope Gradient (%)
6 0 30

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

101 30 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 1 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in


Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic alkaline meadows, seeps, and hot springs in the steppe and montane zones; infrequent in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; E to ON and S to NY, PA, OH, IN, MI, TX, NM, AZ, and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Sporobolus asperifolius (Nees & Meyen ex Trin.) Nees