IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This grass is often encountered in areas that are overgrown and weedy, although few people recognize it. Only the inflorescence has a satiny appearance, and that lasts only a short period of time. Common Satin Grass was once regarded as another variety of Muhlenbergia neomexicana (Leafy Satin Grass), although they are now considered separate species. Because Common Satin Grass and Leafy Satin Grass are very similar in appearance, they are difficult to distinguish. However, the culms of Common Satin Grass are glabrous and smooth-textured, while the culms of Leafy Satin Grass are more rough and sometimes covered with short fine hairs. Leafy Satin Grass tends to be more erect and less branched than Common Satin Grass, but such distinctions aren't always reliable. Many other Muhlenbergia spp. (Satin Grasses) have panicles of spikelets that are even more narrow (up to ¼" across) than those of Common Satin Grass and Leafy Satin Grass. Another species, Muhlenbergia racemosa (Wild Timothy), has panicles that are just as broad (up to ¾" across), but its glumes are much longer (4-8 mm.). There is a rare form of Common Satin Grass, f. commutata, that has awned lemmas.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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