140. Muhlenbergia Schreber in Linnaeus, Gen. Pl., ed. 8. 1: 44. 1789.
乱子草属 luan zi cao shu
Authors: Zhen-lan Wu & Paul M. Peterson
Perennial, usually with creeping scaly rhizomes. Culms erect, ascending or decumbent at base. Leaf blades linear to narrowly lanceolate; ligule membranous, sometimes minutely ciliolate. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle. Spikelets with 1 floret, lanceolate, slightly laterally compressed, rachilla disarticulating above glumes; glumes shorter than or equal to lemma, subequal or the upper shorter, thin, usually 1-veined or the lower veinless, persistent; callus small, obtuse; lemma 3-veined, membranous, dark green mottled with dark gray, laxly pilose toward base on abaxial surface, awned from acute apex or from between two minute teeth; awn straight or flexuose; palea equal to the lemma, membranous. Caryopsis usually fusiform, rarely ellipsoid. x = 10.
About 155 species: mainly SW North America and Mexico, also Central and South America and SE Asia; six species in China.
Muhlenbergia duthieana Hackel (Oesterr. Bot. Z. 52: 11. 1902) has recently been reported from Yunnan (Fl. Yunnan. 9: 467. 2003). It is a loosely tufted species lacking rhizomes, with a dense, narrow panicle, and spikelets distinguished by their long glumes, at least 4/5 as long as the spikelet. Outside China it is known from montane forests in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to Nepal.
Many species of this genus are good fodder plants.