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January 2017 Plant of the Month - Deer Grass

deer grassMuhlenbergia rigens, commonly known as deer grass, is a tough, drought-tolerant bunch grass that is native to the much of the Western United States and Mexico.  Deer grass grows in full sun, requires very little water and grows to be 4-5 feet tall and wide.

Because of its extensive root system, deer grass has multiple landscaping uses, including erosion prevention and stream bank stabilization.  It also has the ability to remove chemicals form agricultural runoff, making it an excellent bio filter for particulate removal and breakdown. 

Other benefits of deer grass are that it provides shelter for wildlife, is resistant to deer, and is highly tolerant of urban conditions.    

Deer grass can be found growing in many SFO landscapes, most notably inbound and outbound ramps.

Fun Fact:

It is believed that the widespread proliferation of deer grass throughout the West can be attributed to Native Americans, who used the flower stalks to make baskets and other storage vessels.