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Distichlis spicata (Linnaeus) Greene. Saltgrass, Spike Grass. Phen: Late May-Oct. Hab: Coastal marshes and shores, especially common in hypersaline flats (where infrequent tidal inundation is followed by evaporation). Dist: Widespread in the Americas.

ID notes: Sporobolus virginicus is superficially similar to Distichlis spicata in overall aspect (a rhizomatous grass in coastal saline conditions with distichous leaf arrangement), but is generally more delicate and has hairy sheath margins and collar (vs. coarser and glabrous in Distichlis spicata).

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Taxonomy Comments: Two varieties (or subspecies or species) have often been recognized: var. spicata ranging along the Atlantic coast from NS and PE south to tropical America, and on the Pacific coast of North America, and var. stricta (Torrey) Lamson-Scribner widespread in saline situations in western North America. These do not appear to warrant taxonomic recognition (Barkworth in FNA 2003a).

Other Comments: "One of the chief components of 'marsh hay' " (Tatnall (1946).

Synonymy: = Ar, Bah, ETx1, FlGr, FNA25, GW1, Il, K1, K3, K4, Meso6, Mex, NcTx, NE, NY, Pa, RAB, S, S13, SFla, Va, WH3; > Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene – F, G, HC, Tat; > Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene ssp. spicata; > Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene var. spicata – C, Mo1, Tx; > Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene var. stricta (Torr.) Scribn. – C, Mo1, Tx; > Distichlis stricta – F, G, HC

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: OBL
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FACW
  • Great Plains: FACW
  • Midwest: FACW
  • Northcentral & Northeast: FACW

Heliophily ?: 9

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image of plant© Keith Bradley | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Keith Bradley | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Keith Bradley | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Collectors SOS | Original Image ⭷

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