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Saltgrass
Distichlis spicata
Poaceae
 

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also butterfly gardens in saline areas along the coast.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A somewhat sporadic element of tidal marshes. The similar looking Sporobolus virginicus is much more common in South Florida.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Small herbaceous grass.

Dimensions: About 4-8 inches in height; to 12 inches when in flower. Spreading from underground stems (rhizomes) and forming large patches.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Widespread in North America south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Tidal marshes.

Soils: Wet to moist, regularly inundated saline soils.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: High; tolerates flooding by salt water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: Gray-green inflorescence.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-fall.

Fruit: Inconspicuous light brown caryopsis.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food for birds. Larval host plant for obscure skipper (Panoquina panoquinoides) and saltmarsh skipper (Panoquina panoquin) butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed or divisions.


Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton


Other data on Distichlis spicata available from:



 
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