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Scratchgrass (Muhlenbergia asperifolia (Nees & Meyen ex Trin.) Parodi)

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Range - Expand

Native or Not Present
Native or Expanded
Expanded or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

This species has expanded eastward, taking advantage of its salt tolerance and growing along roadways. Probably due to its association with these high-salt habitats, it has only expanded eastward in the cooler, northern parts of its range, and is absent from the southeast. Its expansion has been greatest in urban areas where road density and salt usage is highest, such as the Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland metropolitan areas. It is likely found in more places than it is reported, particularly in urban areas in the Upper Midwest, but it has not yet been reported on the East Coast.


Frequently found in moist to wet, disturbed habitats, including ones with high salinity and/or soil alkalinity. Such habitats are relatively widespread in the arid west, where it is native.

In the expanded, eastern portion of its range, this species is found primarily along salted roadways, in medians and in roadside ditches, where it thrives due to its salt tolerance.

Muhlenbergia asperifolia (scratchgrass) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Muhlenbergia asperifolia | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Muhlenbergia asperifolia | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Muhlenbergia asperifolia | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Scratch Grass | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)