Plant Guide > Grasses > Narrow Melic Grass

Narrow Melic Grass


Melica mutica Walt.

"Farre away I heard her song,
`Cusha! Cusha!' all along;
Where the reedy Lindis floweth,
Floweth, floweth,
From the meads where melick groweth
Faintly carne her milking song."

This beautiful grass of spring and early summer, the Narrow Melic-grass, is found by the borders of thickets and open woods from Pennsylvania southward, where its pale green flowers often nod to the breeze above purplish blue banks of dwarf iris and the more fragrant, but somewhat less common, crested iris.

So widely open are the dropping spikelets that the panicles seem fringed with pendent green bells, for the papery outer scales of each spikelet are large and broad, like flower petals.

Narrow Melic-grass. Melica mutica Walt.

Perennial.

Stem 1 1/2-3 ft. tall, slender, erect. Sheaths rough. Ligule 1"-2" long. Leaves 3'-9' long, 1"-5" wide, flat, roughish.

Panicle 3'-10' long, narrow, branches few, not many-flowered. Spikelets 3"- 5" long, nodding on slender pedicels and usually consisting of 2 perfect flowers. Rachilla prolonged and bearing 2 or 3 small, twisted scales. Outer scales slightly unequal, very broad, acute o- obtuse; flowering scales papery, broad, obtuse, roughish. Stamens 3.

Rich soil and open woods. April to June.

Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, south to Florida and Texas.