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How to Identify Nimblewill

Nimblewill, Muhlenbergia schreberi, is a native, warm season grass typically found in slightly shaded, disturbed habitats and even in your lawn. This short grass typically stays under one foot tall, but it tends to sprawl over the ground and re-root from nodes along the stem. It has short leaves that are held perpendicular to the stem, resembling rungs on a ladder. There is also a short hairy ligule.

When it flowers, Nimblewill produces a panicle inflorescence, although it often resembles a spike. If you bend the inflorescence, you can see branches that are typically held straight up next to the rachis. The small spikelets are awned. Keep your eye out for this grass in your lawn and in other disturbed habitats.

This video is part of the Grasses at a Glance series by Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy Educator Erin Garrett, University of Illinois Extension. Explore the playlist. Read our blog, Grasses at a Glance.