Plants and Animals

Muhlenbergia cuspidata Plains muhly

species photo
Kitty Kohout

Key Characteristics

Tufted grass arising from hard, knotty bases (not rhizomes) with bulb like offshoots, found around cliffs in Keweenaw County; stems wiry and slender, terminating in a narrow panicle; leaves very narrow, strongly ascending, with very small ligules (0.5 mm).

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: X - Presumed extirpated (legally 'threatened' if rediscovered)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: SX - Presumed extirpated

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Keweenaw21895

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

This species is known only from two collections made more than a century ago on the Keweenaw Peninsula, when this species was found on dry bluffs or cliffs. Elsewhere, this Great Plains species is known to occur in neutral to alkaline soils in dry prairies, on open gravelly or stony prairie hills and loess bluffs.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

No data are available for Michigan collection; in the main portion of its range, it occurs with short-grass prairie species such as side-oats grama grass.

Management Recommendations

The principal need at present is a status survey along the Keweenaw Peninsula and other potential sites in the western Upper Peninsula where apparently extensive habitat exists. If found, it would likely protection of occupied sites from trampling from intensive recreational activities like rock climbing.

Survey Methods

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of July to fourth week of September

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Braun, E. L. 1967. The Monocotyledoneae of Ohio. Cat-tails to Orchids. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 464pp.
  • Dore, W.G. and J. McNeill. 1980. Grasses of Ontario. Agriculture Canada Research Monographs 26: 566pp.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2003. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 25: Magnoliaphyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 2. Oxford University Press, New York. 783pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the Grasses of the United States. Second ed. Revised by A. Chase. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publications 200. 1051pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978. The Flora of Canada. National Museum of Natural Science Publications Botany 4: 1711pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 488pp.