Two people stand on a grassy hillside in the King Range Wilderness, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
California Poppies Headwaters Forest Reserve Kayaker enjoying the California Coastal National Monument Headwaters Forest Reserve King Range National Conservation Area
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Arcata Field Office

European Beach Grass (Ammophilia arenaria)

Grass family (Poaceae)


 European Beach Grass covered sand dune



Description: A coarse, perennial, European beachgrass spreads by deep, tough, buried stems (rhizomes) and forms dense, continuous stands. The leaf blades are relatively narrow 0.08-0.2 inches (2-5 millimeters) tough, fibrous and inrolled, with a sharp point. The outer surface is smooth and grayish-green, without distinct ribs. The inner surface is whitish and closely ribbed. The Latin name Ammophila means "sand-loving", as the grass thrives on being buried. European beachgrass can be distinguished from the native dunegrass Leymus mollis, by the difference in color and shape of the blades. Native dunegrass is bluish-green in color with wider blades 0.2-0.6 inches (5-15 millimeters) and grows in scattered patches rather than dense stands.

Habitat: Native to Europe and the east American coast, European beachgrass inhabits coastal sand dunes; culitvated and spread for dune stabilization, baskets, and brooms. European beachgrass swiftly invades and displaces native foredune habitats and is the primary threat to several endangered plant and animal species.

Distribution: Many coastlines around the world, and including the entire coast of California. Of particular concernon public lands managed by the Arcata Field Office is the north spit, Samoa Peninsula, Humboldt Bay.

Flowering Period: June through September


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