Muhlenbergia expansa

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Common names: cutover muhly [1], wiregrass [2]

Muhlenbergia expansa
Muhlenbergia expansa DL.jpg
Photo by Bobby Hattaway at
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Moncots
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Muhlenbergia
Species: M. expansa
Binomial name
Muhlenbergia expansa
Natural range of Muhlenbergia expansa from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonym: M. capillaris var. trichopodes (Elliott) Vasey

Variety: none


M. expansa is a perennial graminoid of the Poaceae family that is native to North America. [1]


The southeastern region of the United States is the native range of M. expansa; specifically in FLorida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. [1]



Fine textured soils, and strongly acid sands are part of the ideal habitat for M. expansa [1] In general, pine savannas, pine flatwoods, and mesic areas in sandhill-pocosin ecotones are the environments where M. expansa can be found. [3] Specimens have been taken from flatwoods with pine savanna sandy loam. [4]

M. expansa has been determined as an indicator species for the Henslow's Sparrows habitats in southeastern Louisiana, it is one of the preferred seeds of the sparrow. [5]


April is the common month where much of the growth happens for M. expansa. Seeds are produced during the late summer months that can be dispersed throughout the following year. [1]

Fire ecology

Burning is a successful solution to managing the grass. [1]

Use by animals

Animals use the grass for forage but is not used as a food source for any animal apart from some livestock but even then it is not their entire food source. [1]

Conservation and Management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 USDA Plant Database
  2. Garren, K. H. (1943). "Effects of fire on vegetation of the southeastern United States." Botanical Review 9(9): 617-654.
  3. Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  4. URL: Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: John Nelson, Pat Ferral, Richard Carter, R. Kral States and counties: South Carolina (Berkeley) Georgia (Wane)
  5. DiMiceli, J. K., et al. (2007). "Seed preferences of wintering Henslow's sparrows." Condor 109: 595-604.