Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Muttongrass is a perennial bunchgrass growing 0.7 to 2.5 feet tall with narrow leaves (1 to 3mm wide). The species is generally considered apomictic (not requiring fertilization for seed production). The flowers are typically pistillate (only female), but occasional staminate (male) flowers arise giving the species the ability to hybridize with other bluegrasses (Welsh and others 2003). Some plants may also reproduce sexually from pollen received from male plants of other bluegrass species (Cronquist and others 1977).
Distribution: For current distribution, consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. Historic records show muttongrass ranges from southern Canada to Texas and east to the Dakotas.
Habitat: Muttongrass is an important late successional understory component in juniper and piñon-juniper communities. Plants can also be found throughout ponderosa pine and into aspen forests and Engelmann spruce-lodgepole pine zones.