AZ Arboretums

Muhlenbergia rigens

Deer grass

Common: Deer grass
Family: Poaceae
Origin/Range: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California; elevations of 2500-7000ft
Light:  Full sun
Root hardy to 10°F (dies to base)

Water:  Once or twice per month once established; increased frequency encourages lush look
Soil: Tolerant, good drainagel

This plant is also known as Muhlenbergia marshii, Muhlenbergia mundula, Epicampes rigens.

A 3' perennial with 2' plumes rising above the plant. It looks like a small pampas grass but without the bad leaf cuts and the aggressive seeding. Native to much of Calif. up into the mountains. It grows on banks of seasonal creeks.

Use it in dry stream beds or along driveways. Much more useful than Pampas grass because of its size.

These plants are fast. They normally will grow to mature size in a season or two. Give them sun and enough water to bring the rainfall to 15 inches/year after the first month or so of regular water.

Deergrass is a significant basketry material to central and southern California Native Americans who utilize the flower stalks in the foundations of coiled baskets. Frequently thousands of flower stalks are needed for completion of each basket. Culms are gathered in late spring while still green, or summer or early fall when golden brown depending upon the tribe, individual family preference, and elevation of the deergrass site.