Torrey's Dropseed / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Torrey's Dropseed (Muhlenbergia torreyana)

  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Poaceae
  • State: DE, GA, KY, MD, NC, NJ, NY, TN, TVA
  • Nature Serve ID: 146912
  • Lifeform: Graminoid
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

This range of the New Jersey muhly has significantly declined over the last century, but it is still found in four states, one of which is New Jersey, where the species is locally abundant in the Pine Barrens. (NatureServe 2001). A true grass, M. torreyana produces a plume of purple flowers that can be up to a foot in length that is held on a 12 to 30 stem.

Where is Torrey's Dropseed (Muhlenbergia torreyana) located in the wild?


Moist, peaty Pine Barrens and meadows (Mitchell 1981)


According to Kartesz (1999): Delaware (Historic/Extirpated) Georgia (Historic/Extirpated) Maryland (Rare) North Carolina (Rare) New Jersey (Rare) New York (Historic/Extirpated) Tennessee

States & Provinces:

Torrey's Dropseed can be found in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Tennessee Valley Authority

Which CPC Partners conserve Torrey's Dropseed (Muhlenbergia torreyana)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Muhlenbergia torreyana is extant through the New Jersey Pine Barrens, on the coastal plain in eastern Maryland and southeastern North Carolina, and disjunctly in central Tennessee. It is considered historical in Georgia and extirpated from New York and Delaware. Approximately 67 occurrences are believed extant; the vast majority are in New Jersey, with several in North Carolina and a few in Tennessee and Maryland. An additional 19 are considering historical, also mostly in New Jersey. In New Jersey, this species can be locally abundant where it occurs, dominating over relatively large areas; elsewhere in the range, it is considered more rare. Threats in New Jersey are considered relatively low, as most occurrences are in the pine barrens region where they are protected from direct habitat destruction. Nevertheless, impacts from recreational vehicles, siltation from nearby residential development, ditching, and fire suppression present some threat. Elsewhere in the range, threats include drainage, lowering of the water table, impacts from recreational vehicles, ditching, draining, logging, and fire suppression. Because this species is dependent on fire, water table fluctuations, and/or other disturbances to maintain open habitat, it is vulnerable to disruptions in these factors. Flowering typically occurs following fire.

  • 01/01/2010

Habitat destruction

  • 01/01/2010


  • 01/01/2010

Pizzolato (1995, 1996, 1998) has used this species as a model to understand procambrial development in grasses.

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

Research into the ecology, biology, and true distribution of this species would aid in conservation efforts.

  • 01/01/2010

Maintain genetically-representative seed bank.


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Taxon Muhlenbergia torreyana
Authority (Schultes) A.S. Hitchc.
Family Poaceae
CPC Number 2902
ITIS 41945
Duration Perennial
Common Names Torrey's dropseed | Torrey's muhly | New Jersey muhly | ring muhly
Associated Scientific Names Muhlenbergia torreyana | Sporobolus torreyanus | Agrostis compressa | Agrostis torreyana | Colpodium compressum | Muehlenbergia torreyana | Sporobolus compressus | Vilfa compressa
Distribution According to Kartesz (1999): Delaware (Historic/Extirpated) Georgia (Historic/Extirpated) Maryland (Rare) North Carolina (Rare) New Jersey (Rare) New York (Historic/Extirpated) Tennessee
State Rank
State State Rank
Delaware SX
Georgia SH
Kentucky SRF
Maryland S1
North Carolina S2
New Jersey S3
New York SX
Tennessee S1
Tennessee Valley Authority S
Ecological Relationships


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