Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia lindheimeri
Common Name: Lindheimer’s Muhly, Lindheimer Muhly, Big Muhly, Blue Muhly
Description: This is a 2-5′ tall x 2-3′ wide perennial bunchgrass with fine foliage and a fountain-like form. Silvery-white panicles (flowers) bloom in the fall. Semi-evergreen in the warmer areas, goes completely dormant in colder areas.. The foliage persists through the winter, though most of it will be dormant. Not necessary to cut back during the cold months. To keep tidy looking, break off old flower stalks when they become brittle and “comb” the plant with a leaf rake to remove dead leaves. Plant in sun to part sun areas of your garden. Fair to good forage for livestock and wildlife. Leaves provide nesting material for birds. Deer resistant. Drought tolerant.
Native from the Edwards Plateau of central Texas south to northern Mexico, Lindheimer’s muhly has become increasingly popular since the 1980s as an elegant, large-scale specimen grass, large enough for screening. It can be a soft-textured substitute for introduced Pampas grass, which it approaches in stature. Its blue-green leaves and lacy autumn panicles grace live oak savannahs and limestone outcrops within its natural range.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall x 1-2′ wide.
Interesting Tidbit: The genus of this plant is named for Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815), also Heinrich Ludwig Muehlenberg, or Henry Muhlenberg, who was a German-educated Lutheran minister and the first president of Franklin College, now Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. He is most famous due to his work in the field of botany. An accomplished botanist, chemist, and minerologist, Henry is credited with classifying and naming 150 species of plants in his 1785 work Index Flora Lancastriensis. Muhlenberg’s work and collaboration with European botanists led to great advances in the study of plants and earned him the distinction as America’s first outstanding botanist.
The species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.
Hardiness Zones 7 – 10