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Muhlenbergia rigens - Deer Grass click image to enlarge

Muhlenbergia rigens

Deer Grass

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  • Common Name: Deer Grass
  • Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia rigens
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Origin: United States
  • California Native: Yes
  • Plant Type: Grasses & Grasslike
  • Foliage Type: Evergreen
  • CA Plant Climate Zone: 4-24
  • Hardy to Zone(s): 9-11
  • Winter Hardiness: 15°
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Exposure:
    Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Irrigation: Low Water Needs
  • WUCOLS Rating:
    Based on Your Location
  • Height: 2-4 feet
  • Width: 3-4 feet
  • Suggested Uses: meadow filler, mass plantings, bank cover, specimen plant
  • Flower Color: buff
  • Foliage Color:
  • Tags: Deer grass, muhlenbergia rigens, tawny, native, perennial

About This Plant

Deer Grass, Muhlenbergia rigens, may be the most identifiable California native grass found in the cultivated landscape. Suitable in a wide range of climates, Deer grass provides ample interest in return for very little water. The grass forms a tight base of bright green leaves reaching 30"-48" tall and wide. Winter and spring moisture keep the plant green and encourage growth of iconic flower stalks that reach another 24" beyond the grass blades. As moisture becomes more scarce, the grass begins to turn a tawny gold and will remain so until moisture returns. Cutting back the grass in late fall after 2-3 seasons of growth will remove built-up thatch and the grass will respond with a flurry of new growth.


Tolerates sand and clay soils.

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