Description from Flora of China
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.
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.
About 155 species: mainly SW North America and Mexico, also Central and South America and SE Asia; six species in China.
(Authors: Wu Zhenlan (吴珍兰); Paul M. Peterson)