Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pink muhly from a little farther back

with 29 comments

Gulf Muhly 8596

Oh, and if you’d like to step back and get a better sense of what Muhlenbergia capillaris, called pink muhly and gulf muhly, looks like, and why people are increasingly planting it as an ornamental, I’m happy to oblige. Like the last picture, this one comes from the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, on the morning of November 9.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 30, 2013 at 12:14 PM

29 Responses

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  1. That’s it! That has to be the very bunch, and that’s just what my photo looked like. Well, not just what my photo looked like – but close enough. I’m never deleting another photo – except true duplicates and the truly horrid.

    It looks like cotton candy.


    November 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    • I suspect it is the very bunch, especially because I was there only a couple of weeks after you were.

      A recent comment from someone in Britain taught me that they call cotton candy “candyfloss” over there. The commenter described it as “disgusting pink stuff made entirely out of sugar,” but I still think your likening pink muhly to cotton candy is apt. Too bad we can’t eat pink muhly, but I’m content to eat it up with my eyes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2013 at 3:47 PM

  2. Grasses are particular favorites of mine in mass plantings. This sort of beauty illustrates exactly why I feel that way.


    November 30, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    • I’m with you on that. I’ll bet you’ve seen some pink muhly planted ornamentally in north Texas, no?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      • Seen it, and even bought some of the $1 half-dead-leftover pots of it to plant in my mini-meadow out back to see if it could be rescued (too bad it wasn’t Rescue Fescue!), but won’t know at least until spring if I succeeded. Better way to gamble a buck than on the lottery, anyhow! 😉


        November 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        • Sounds like just the right thing for a mini-meadow, and a much better investment than the lottery. May your muhly thrive.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM

  3. I can see why people plant this – it would look lovely in a gravel garden with some contrasting grasses gently waving in the breeze.


    November 30, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    • Driving home a while ago from a large outdoor shopping mall in Austin, I passed some pink muhly adjacent to other plants along an exit road—just the thing you suggested, although there’s hardly any breeze today.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

  4. This plant looks almost unreal. The stems in the photo anchor the pink cloud so well. Lovely! 🙂

    George Weaver

    November 30, 2013 at 8:32 PM

  5. pink-a-riffic


    December 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

  6. Lovely Steven! We have these grasses everywhere down here in coastal SC. The only thing I don’t love about them is that they have to be cut short each year to have them bloom again in the fall but otherwise they are glorious!

    Tina Schell

    December 4, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    • I’ve never tried cultivating any of these (or much of anything else, for that matter), so I didn’t know about the cutting back. I let landscapers and gardeners do that, and a reap the visual and photographic rewards.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 4, 2013 at 7:46 AM

  7. […] website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers more information about. You may remember another species of Muhlenbergia that appeared here recently, and you can probably tell that the color in the background of […]

  8. […] last time you saw gulf muhly, in a photograph from Arkansas in November, the grass was in a decidedly pink […]

  9. Gorgeous photo! I love grasses – you do a great job capturing the reality as well as the art of the species.


    February 11, 2014 at 10:25 PM

  10. Gorgeous colour.


    February 13, 2014 at 1:45 AM

  11. I like your different studies of pink muhly. You got so many different views.


    February 25, 2019 at 3:23 PM

    • This past fall I started thinking I should get some new ones because I hadn’t done any in quite a while. Maybe this year will be the time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2019 at 3:35 PM

      • I saw them in PR also.


        February 25, 2019 at 3:39 PM

        • I’d never noticed that the USDA map for this species has it marked for Puerto Rico, given how small PR is in the overall view:


          I see now that it also grows in the county on Long Island where I grew up.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 25, 2019 at 3:45 PM

          • At the USDA site it says it’s native to PR, where it says ‘Native Status’, there is a small grid, and there it usually says ‘L48’ (lower 48 States), and then PR or HA, or nothing if there are no islands, but this one has the ‘PR N’ letters which refers to PR.


            February 25, 2019 at 4:26 PM

            • Right. It’s much easier to see that big green dot next to Puerto Rico in the “Native Status” row than on the map itself.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 25, 2019 at 4:29 PM

              • I read they could grow in western States, as long as they’re in zones 3a to 11a, but more in ‘ornamental’ gardens than in ‘wilderness’. The west is also drier and less humid.


                February 25, 2019 at 4:54 PM

            • I wouldn’t be surprised if in California or somewhere else it could be growing. It may be considered ornamental because of the color, and the grasses I believe spread easily with wind, but I have no idea. It’s so pretty.


              February 25, 2019 at 4:34 PM

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