|Gorgeous specimens of Muhlenbergia sericea along the sides of the trail|
There is no doubt that species in the genus Muhlenbergia are some of the most beautiful grasses out there, and I mostly encountered them as ornamental grasses in the Northeast USA. But they exist in plentiful varieties as native plants in Florida, a fact that astonished me when I first encountered them in Jacksonville's Atlantic Beach.
This group of grasses are also a prominent fixture in the Nature Conservancy's Disney Preserve in Florida, and when I visited the place to hike a couple days back, they were garbed in masses of absolutely gorgeous pinkish blooms.
|Juvenile alligator hiding under the beautiful M. sericea|
They also seemed to provide an unusual service to the other inhabitants of the park.
Under one large specimen, a juvenile alligator had parked itself under the heavy shade (see image above), perhaps seeking protection from the gawking passersby and other hikers around it. The combination of the airy pink blooms and the primeval looking reptile was striking.
|Beautiful inflorescence of M. sericea|
|Spikelets of M. sericea|
|Two spikelets of M. sericea, each with with two very long awns. One spikelet is showing purple anthers and the filament, as well as the fuzzy stigma.|