Selected Plants of Navajo Rangelands

Take care of our Navajo Rangelands

Muhly, spike
Bé’ézhóó’ tsahí

Green spikelet displaying typical pattern of  seeds and interrupted patches

Spike muhly rates high in palatability for all livestock. It is most abundant on rocky soils and in mountain meadows at elevations from 3,800 to 9,000 feet.

Abundant spike muhly on rangeland in good condition needs only moderate grazing for maintenance. Depleted ranges may need summer deferment.

This perennial bunchgrass reaches heights of 8 to 24 inches. Clumps are generally 1 to 2 feet wide. The grass has a very narrow seedhead that has a distinctive feature: the seeds do not occur continuously, but are sometimes interrupted by bare areas. There is one floret per spikelet.

Dry spikelet showing the interrupted pattern of seeds along the axis
Close-up of seed spikelet
Clumpy growth habit
Thick green/brown seedhead at the top of a single green grass stem, with other stems and seedheads in the background.

Copyright 2018 New Mexico State University. Individual photographers retain all rights to their images. Partially funded by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (; 435.797.2257), project EW15-023. Programs and projects supported by Western SARE are equally open to all people. NMSU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action educator and employer..

NMSU does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, retaliation, serious medical condition, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, spousal affiliation or protected veteran status in its programs and activities as required by equal opportunity/affirmative action regulations and laws and university policy and rules. For more information please read the NMSU Notice of Non-discrimination (opens in new window).