Agropyron peruvianum (Lam.) Roem. & Schult.
Brachypodium peruvianum (Lam.) Roem. & Schult. ex Kunth
Briza spicata (L.) Lam.
Brizopyrum americanum Link
Brizopyrum boreale J.Presl
Brizopyrum ovatum Nees ex Steud.
Brizopyrum prostratum (Kunth) Benth. ex E.Fourn.
Brizopyrum spicatum (L.) Hook. & Arn.
Brizopyrum thalassicum (Kunth) Nees
Distichlis araucana Phil.
Distichlis dentata Rydb.
Distichlis deserticola Phil.
Distichlis hirsuta Phil.
Distichlis hirta Phil.
Distichlis marginata Phil.
Distichlis maritima Raf.
Distichlis mendocina Phil.
Distichlis nodosa Raf.
Distichlis prostrata (Kunth) É.Desv.
Distichlis stricta (Torr.) Rydb.
Distichlis tenuifolia Phil.
Distichlis thalassica E.Desv.
Distichlis viridis Phil.
Eragrostis thalassica (Kunth) Steud.
Festuca distichophylla Michx.
Festuca spicata Nutt.
Festuca triticea Kunth
Festuca triticoides Lam.
Megastachya prostrata (Kunth) Roem. & Schult.
Megastachya thalassica (Kunth) Roem. & Schult.
Poa borealis (J.Presl) Kunth
Poa dactyloides Kunth
Poa michauxii Kunth
Poa prostrata Kunth
Poa repens Willd. ex Steud.
Poa subulata Bosc ex Kunth
Poa thalassica Kunth
Triticum peruvianum Lam.
Uniola distichophylla (Michx.) Roem. & Schult.
Uniola flexuosa Buckley
Uniola multiflora Nutt.
Uniola prostrata (Kunth) Trin.
Uniola pungens Rupr. ex M.Martens & Galeotti
Uniola spicata L.
Uniola stricta Torr.
Uniola thalassica (Kunth) Trin.
Distichlis spicata is perennial grass with elongated rhizomes forming dense colonies of growth. The erect culms can be 10 - 60cm tall. The rhizomes and roots can form dense mats of growth; the plant sometimes forms pure, extremely dense stands and is then seldom more than 30cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is harvested from the wild on a commercial scale for use as a medicine, and is often grown in land restoration and stabilization projects.
S. America - Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia; Caribbean; C. America - Belize, Guatemala north to Canada
Found in a wide range of environments that include salt marshes, sandy flats, inland salt marshes, alkaline flats, coastal tidal marshes, foothills, deserts, grasslands, salt playas, and along the banks of streams, rivers, and lakes; to 2,700 metres[
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Distichlis spicata grows in a wide range of environments. It requires a minimum growing season of 80 frost-free days for growth. It can be found in the extremely arid Death Valley region of California, where annual precipitation is as low as 19mm and an air temperature of 57°c has been recorded. Conversely, it also occurs in Yellowstone National Park, where the mean annual precipitation can be as high as 2,030 mm. It is also found on the mixed-grass prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan where temperatures can dip to -48°c in winter[
The plant requires a sunny position[
]. It is usually found in fine-textured soils, often low in oxygen[
]. It prefers a moist environment, tolerating occasional flooding, but can also withstand considerable drought[
]. Plants grow well in alkaline soils and are extremely tolerant of saline soils, succeeding where salinity levels can be more than 8%, though it then grows in a dwarfed form[
]. Plants are usually found on soils with a pH ranging from 6.8 - 9.2, exceptionally tolerating 10.9[
Saltgrass grows in highly stressful environments where it is frequently subjected to temperature, drought, and salt stress or in tidal salt marshes where its entire above-ground biomass is periodically inundated with sea water[
The rhizomes have sharp points with numerous epidermal silica cells that aid in the penetration of heavy soils[
Leaves and stems - used extensively for food[
The dried grass cakes have been soaked in water then strained to make a beverage[
Native Americans in California used saltgrass as a seasoning. They collected the salt crystals by threshing the blades. The seasoning provided is gray-green and said to have tasted like a salty dill pickle[
The plant has been burnt and the ashes used as a salt-rich flavouring in food[
Saltgrass is a respiratory allergenic plant that is offered by Miles Pharmaceutical and used by Florida physicians to treat respiratory allergies[
An infusion of the plant is used as a laxative and also in the treatment of conditions such as gonorrhoea, fast heart rate[
A decoction of salt obtained from the plant is cooked into a gum and allowed to melt in order to treat bad colds and loss of appetite[
Given its extensive system of rhizomes and roots which form a dense sod, saltgrass is considered an outstanding species for controlling wind and water erosion[
The thick entangled roots of salt marsh plants acts as a guard between the ocean and the shore protecting the land from pollutants and other chemicals associated with runoff water. It is particularly useful in saline/alkaline wetlands[
The plant has successfully established on land with very high rates of copper, manganese and zinc. It lgrows healthily, but argely excludes these metals from its foliage, so cannot be used to remove contaminants from the land[
Saltgrass culms have been used as a cleaning agent. The stiffness of the leaves makes them an excellent brushing material for cleaning various implements or removing cactus thorns from objects[
Seed - it benefits from stratification and scarification. Sow in a seedbed and only just cover the seed. Keep in a sunny position and make sure the seeds do not dry out. Seeds taken from a California salt marsh and placed in a moist environment germinated at a rate of 76% when scarified, 94% when stratified at 4°c, and 28% when left untreated. A daily temperature regime of 10°c for 16 hours and 40°c for 8 hours produced the best germination rates[
]. Seeds 8 months old germinate more freely than fresh seed[
Division of the plant is very easy at any time of the year.