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Published In: Systema Naturae . . . editio decima tertia, aucta, reformata 2: 171. 1791. (Syst. Nat., ed. 13[bis]) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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9. Muhlenbergia schreberi J.F. Gmel. (nimblewill)

Pl. 151 d, e; Map 619

Plants without rhizomes, forming tufts, clumps, or colonies. Flowering stems 15–60(–80) cm long, erect from usually spreading bases, dull, minutely hairy below the nodes, not bulbous‑thickened at the base but frequently rooting at the lower nodes. Leaf sheaths glabrous or roughened and sometimes with a few long hairs at the tip of the margins, keeled, the ligule 0.1–0.4 mm long. Leaf blades 1–10 cm long, 1–4 mm wide, flat, glabrous or usually sparsely long‑hairy at the base. Inflorescences dense, spikelike, mostly terminal panicles 4–20 cm long, linear in outline, the base noticeably stalked and not enclosed by the subtending leaf sheath, the branches short, appressed to the main axis or nearly so. Spikelets 1.8–2.8 mm long (excluding the awns), short‑stalked, the stalks shorter than to less than 2 times as long as the spikelets. Glumes reduced, 0.1–0.4 mm long, much shorter than the floret, lanceolate to oblong‑ovate, only slightly overlapping at the base, rounded to bluntly pointed at the tip, nerveless, awnless. Lemma with the body 1.8–2.8 mm long, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, the tip sharply pointed, with an awn 1.5–5.0 mm long, with a tuft of short hairs at the base, otherwise roughened along the midnerve. Anthers 0.1–0.5 mm long. Fruits 1.0–1.4 mm long. 2n=40 July–November.

Scattered to common nearly throughout the state (eastern U.S. west to Minnesota, Nebraska, and Texas; Mexico). Bottomland forests, mesic to less commonly dry upland forests, moist depressions of upland prairies, ledges of bluffs, and banks of streams, spring branches, and rivers; also pastures, old fields, lawns, roadsides, and moist, disturbed areas.

This is perhaps the most disturbance‑adapted species of Muhlenbergia in Missouri, occurring in a wide variety of natural and disturbed habitats without apparent regard to soil type or substrate. Unusual plants from Barry and Jackson Counties with glumes 1–2 mm long, very short lemma awns, and sometimes short rhizomes were treated by Steyermark (1963) as M. schreberi var. curtisetosa (Scribn.) Steyerm. & C.L. Kucera. Pohl (1969) noted that such specimens occur sporadically nearly throughout the range of M. schreberi and as far as he could tell produced abortive pollen. He called these plants M. ¥curtisetosa (Scribn.) Bush and treated them as a series of sterile hybrids between M. schreberi and several rhizomatous species. Pohl (1969) analyzed the few specimens from Missouri and concluded that they represented different possible parental combinations, with M. bushii, M. frondosa, and M. tenuiflora possibly hybridizing with M. schreberi.



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