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

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

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #72921)

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Distribution of Muhlenbergia asperifolia
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Species Information

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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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / 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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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) 745 867 1000
Slope Gradient (%) 0 6 30
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
30 101 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 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: BWBS(7)


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

Sporobolus asperifolius (Nees & Meyen ex Trin.) Nees

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References