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Common Name: Lyme Grass
Leymus arenarius is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain and Siberia. N. America.
Dunes by the coast, often in association with Ammophila arenaria[
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils, preferring a sandy soil[
] and a sunny position[
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
A very invasive plant, spreading by means of its wide-ranging roots[
Cultivated in Japan for making mats etc[
]. The Viking settlers of Iceland cultivated this plant until the beginning of the 20th century for its edible seed[
Seed - cooked[
]. It can be ground into a flour and used to make bread[
]. A delicious taste[
] but very fiddly to use, the seed is small and hard to extract[
]. When cooked like rice, it can be used as a sweet or savoury dish. Mixed 50/50 with wheat flour it adds a richness to biscuits etc[
]. The protein content of this grain is said to rival that of red beans or salmon[
]. (This report seems somewhat surprising, protein levels are not usually anywhere near that high in a cereal[
The leaves are used for making mats, rope, paper etc[
The plants have a very extensive root system and so they are often planted near the coast in order to stabilize sand dunes[
]. They can also be used as a ground cover for sandy open spaces but can be invasive[
Seed - sow mid spring in situ and only just cover the seed[
]. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.
If the supply of seed is limited, it can also be sown in mid spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in summer[
Division in spring or summer[
]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.