Deer in Spring Landscape

Narrow Melicgrass

photo of Narrow Melicgrass courtesy of Richard Wiegand
Narrow Melicgrass (Melica mutica)
Photograph by Richard Wiegand

Yes, grasses can be rare! In the case of the Narrow Melicgrass, State Threatened is more correct. The Narrow Melicgrass prefers to live in open terrain, such as open woodlands, rocky glades and road banks. Unfortunately, this is also where trampling by humans occurs AND where non-native plant species gain a roothold and out compete the Narrow Melicgrass for available resources.

This plant is also called the Two-Flowered Melic, to distinguish it from other members of the genus which have three flowers in each cluster, called a spikelet. The “mutica” refers to the muted or blunted tip of the sheath-like structure that actually covers the flowers. You’ll need a hand lens to see the difference.

Of the populations of Narrow Melicgrass in Maryland, a few occur within protected lands, near hiking trails. Watch where you step!

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