In older works this species is often treated as a part of Beckmannia eruciformis (as Beckmannia eruciformis ssp. Baicalensis (Kusn.) Hultén)[
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
Plants growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Matt Lavin
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)[
Eurasia - throughout Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Japan; N. America - Alaska to Quebec, south to California, New Mexico, Nebraska, Michigan
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[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
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[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 800mm, but tolerates 350 - 1,200mm[
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Prefers a moist to wet soil, succeeding in shallow water[
]. Tolerates moderately saline soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 7.5[
Yields of around 500 kilos of seed per hectare have been achieved in Alaska (the variety 'Egan' was grown)[
Seed - cooked[
]. A mild flavour, it can be ground into a flour and used as a cereal. The seed is very small but is easily harvested[
]. 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[
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[
The plant is used for making bedding and pillows[
Seed - surface sow in spring in pots in a cold frame. Do not let the soil dry out. Very quick germination[
]. 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.