Sweetgrass Biology

  • Robert J. Dufault
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Plant Science book series (BRIEFSPLANT)


Sweetgrass is in the grass family technically called the Poaceae family. Debate has been ongoing for decades by botanical taxonomists about the correct scientific nomenclature to name the species of sweetgrass used in African-coiled basketry. When I started working with this plant in the late 1980s, it was accepted by most botanists that the genus and species was Muhlenbergia filipes M. A. Curtis. Alternative names are Muhlenbergia capillaries (Lam.) Trin. var. filipes (M. A. Curtis) Chapm. ex Beal and Muhlenbergia sericea (Michx.) P. M. Peterson. The genus Muhlenbergia was named after Dr. H. Muhlenberg, who wrote a work on American grasses in 1817. The genus Muhlenbergia has 152 species with 69 of these species native to North America (Gustafson and Peterson 2007).


North American Species Maidenhair Tree Grass Family Floral Anatomy Poaceae Family 
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  1. Gustafson D, Peterson P (2007) Re-examination of Muhlenbergia capillaris, M. expansa, and M. sericea (Poaceae: Muhlenbergiinae). J Bot Res Inst Texas 1:85–89Google Scholar
  2. Peterson P (2003) Muhlenbergia Schreb: In: Barkworth ME, Capels KM, Long S, Peip MB (eds) Magnoliophyta: Commedlinidae (in part): Poaceae, Part 2. Flora of North America North Mexico, vol 25. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. pp 145–200.Google Scholar
  3. Pinson JN Jr, Batson WT (1971) The Status of Muhlenbergia filipes Curtis (Poaceae). J Elisha Mitchell Sci Soc 87:188–191Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert J. Dufault 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HorticultureClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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