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Useful Temperate Plants

Beckmannia syzigachne

(Steud.) Fernald

Poaceae


In older works this species is often treated as a part of Beckmannia eruciformis (as Beckmannia eruciformis ssp. Baicalensis (Kusn.) Hultén)[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

+ Synonyms

Beckmannia baicalensis (Kuzn.) Hultén

Beckmannia eruciformis baicalensis (Kuzn.) T.Koyama & Kawano

Beckmannia eruciformis baicalensis Kuzn.

Beckmannia eruciformis syzigachne (Steud.) Breitung

Beckmannia eruciformis uniflora Scribn. ex A.Gray

Beckmannia hirsutiflora (Roshev.) Prob.

Panicum syzigachne Steud.

Common Name: American Sloughgrass

Beckmannia syzigachne
Plants growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Matt Lavin
Creative Commons License
Beckmannia syzigachne Beckmannia syzigachne Beckmannia syzigachne Beckmannia syzigachne Beckmannia syzigachne Beckmannia syzigachne

General Information

Beckmannia syzigachne is a clump-forming, annual to short-lived perennial grass with erect culms 20 - 90cm tall.
The plant has been harvested from the wild in the past for its edible seeds, though these are small and fiddly. It is also the source of material for stuffing pillows etc. The plant is used in soil stabilization and restoration projects.
The species is widespread and while it is possibly declining in parts of its range, it is not thought that any global population decline is likely to meet (or be close to meeting) the threshold for Vulnerable. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

Eurasia - throughout Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Japan; N. America - Alaska to Quebec, south to California, New Mexico, Nebraska, Michigan

Habitat

Wet land prairies, where it is commonly found in low ground such as sloughs, marshes, ditches, and edges of ponds and lakes; also found on disturbed areas and along roads[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
HabitAnnual/Perennial
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsSelf, Wind
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Beckmannia syzigachne is a plant of the temperate zone, growing in continental, boreal and semi-arid climates. It can be found at elevations up to 2,000metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 9 - 20°c, but can tolerate 2 - 24°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 800mm, but tolerates 350 - 1,200mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Grows best in a sunny position[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a moist to wet soil, succeeding in shallow water[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Tolerates moderately saline soils[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Yields of around 500 kilos of seed per hectare have been achieved in Alaska (the variety 'Egan' was grown)[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
161
Title
Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
Publication
 
Author
Yanovsky. E.
Publisher
U.S. Depf of Agriculture.
Year
 
ISBN
-
Description
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
]. A mild flavour, it can be ground into a flour and used as a cereal. The seed is very small but is easily harvested[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It does then have to be separated from its husk, which is a very fiddly operation. Some native N. American tribes burn the husks of grass seeds to make the seed easier to eat[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant frequently colonizes denuded wetland soils resulting from mud flat exposure. Its seed provides food for migratory water fowl. The variety ‘Egan’ was selected and released for wetland restoration and erosion control in Alaska[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Other Uses

The plant is used for making bedding and pillows[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in spring in pots in a cold frame. Do not let the soil dry out. Very quick germination[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
If there is sufficient seed, it can be sown in situ in the spring.

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