Scientific Name: Muhlenbergia schreberi

Common Name: nimblewill

Synonyms: Muhlenbergia palustris, Muhlenbergia schreberi var. palustris

Habit: A blue-green perennial grass that grows in dense patches. Stems are thin and delicate and tend to lodge and root at the nodes. Repeated tilling and rooting of reclining stems leads to an eventual mat or patch of weedy grass. Plants are lighter green than desirable tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass in spring and summer and turn brown for winter dormancy with first cold weather.

Leaves: Leaves are bluish-green or light green, coarse textured, and typically hairless. Collar is often hairy and ligule is a short (> 1 mm) membrane that is jagged across the top.

Identifying Characteristics: Often confused with bermudagrass or creeping bentgrass, nimblewill can be distinguished by a short membranous ligule (bermudagrass = hairy ligule and creeping bentgrass = tall membrane); delicate, thin stems; and lacks true stolons. In nimblewill, stems do not creep along the ground as with the stolons of creeping bentgrass or bermudagrass. Instead, delicate nimblewill stems recline and root at the nodes leading to a mat-forming growth habit that is similar to the other perennial grasses.

Flower Seed Head: Seedhead is an erect to ascending narrow spike-like panicle. Seed production occurs locally over a period of less than one month and initiates between August and October depending on local climate.

Seed Fruit: Seed are flat and slender about 1 to 1.4 mm long with awns 2 to 5 mm long.

Where Found: Restricted mostly to moist shady areas in the south. From the transition zone and north, nimblewill grows in shade and full sun. It competes best in moist areas but is often found in dry, less managed turfgrass areas. Nimblewill is very common in Virginia (USA) but many people confuse it with common bermudagrass.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: opposite

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: less than 1 mm

  • Seed head: spike; panicle

  • Width: less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: round