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‹ Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

Bush Muhly

September 14, 2018
Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey
Bush Muhly

Bush muhly is the species Muhlenbergia porteri. There are over 40 species of muhlys found in Arizona and the southwest. It would be hard to go out into the desert or up into the hills and not stumble across a species of Muhlenbergia. That said it would be pretty hard to travel around North America and not run into some muhlys. And that’s not to say I would recognize even half of them, but they’re out there!

Native grasses respond to the summer rains and where what looked like bare ground before the monsoon, all of a sudden you have grassland. It’s remarkable. This monsoon the bush muhly responded quite vigorously and I’ve come across beautiful individual plants as well and small stands of it. I wonder if the common name bush muhly is about the way it will grow up through a shrub (bush) or the fact that by itself it looks bushy.  I don’t know, but it is so cool looking, especially in seed when the plant takes on a pinkish hue.

Its elevation range blew my mind, as it can be found from 2,000’, so in the desert around Tucson, and up to 5,500’ like the desert grassland or oak woodland near our little homestead.

The photos are mine.  I stopped on the outskirts of Willcox to photograph broom dalea (Dalea scoparia) in bloom and the bush muhly was a nice surprise. And I mentioned our dog Chuchu wandering through giant sacaton, so I’ve included a photo of her sweet bushy tail out in the sacaton. Good girl.

bush muhly,   Growing Native,   Muhlenbergia porteri,   Petey Mesquitey,  


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