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This delicate grass blends into the background readily. Among the various satin grasses (Muhlenbergia spp.) in Illinois, Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi) is the one that you are most likely to encounter in suburban and urban areas; it has low fidelity to any particular habitat and can appear almost anywhere that is sufficiently moist and receives a little shade. Many satin grasses are more robust in appearance than Nimblewill, their inflorescences are often more stout, and their spikelets may lack awns. Woodland Muhly (Muhlenbergia sylvatica) is somewhat similar in appearance, but its awns are somewhat longer than those of Nimblewill. Woodland Muhly also has conspicuous glumes that are almost as long as its spikelets, while the glumes of Nimblewill are tiny and inconspicuous – as a matter of fact, it has the smallest glumes of any satin grass in Illinois.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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