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Useful Temperate Plants

Leymus arenarius

(L.) Hochst.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Elymus arenarius L.

Elymus geniculatus Curtis

Elymus geniculatus Curtis ex Sm.

Frumentum arenarium (L.) E.H.L.Krause

Hordeum arenarium (L.) Asch.

Hordeum villosum Moench

Triticum arenarium (L.) F.Herm.

Common Name: Lyme Grass

No Image.

General Information

Leymus arenarius is a perennial, clump-forming grass with creeping rhizomes; it produces erect, stout culms around 60 - 200cm tall, spreading to form large colonies.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. A nutritious food, it was cultivated by the Vikings as a cereal crop in the past in areas such as Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland, and has the potential to be grown in the artic regions where no other suitable agricultural crop is forthcoming[
1958
Title
A "Lost" Viking Cereal Grain
Publication
J.Ethnobiol 1 (2): 200-207 1981
Author
Griffin L.C. & Rowlett R.M.
Publisher
 
Year
1981
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. It has an extensive root system and is often grown along coasts in order to bind the sand.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
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.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Northern and western Europe - Scandanavia, Britain and Spain, east to western Russia and Ukraine

Habitat

Open sand and dunes by the coast, often in association with Ammophila arenaria[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.20 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils, preferring a sandy soil[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
] and a sunny position[
162
Title
Ornamental Grasses.
Publication
 
Author
Grounds. R.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1989
ISBN
0-7470-1219-9
Description
Cultivation details of many of the grasses and bamboos. Well illustrated.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
190
Title
The Dry Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Chatto. B.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1982
ISBN
0460045512
Description
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
].
A very invasive plant, spreading by means of its wide-ranging roots[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
].
Leymus arenarius has the potential to become a cereal crop at latitudes much further north than any existing cereal crops can be grown, in land seen as unsuitable for agricultural crops. Yields from wild plants can be around 600 - 800 kilos per hectare and this has the potential for considerable improvement[
1958
Title
A "Lost" Viking Cereal Grain
Publication
J.Ethnobiol 1 (2): 200-207 1981
Author
Griffin L.C. & Rowlett R.M.
Publisher
 
Year
1981
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The Viking settlers of Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland cultivated it as a cereal for hundreds of years until the beginning of the 20th century[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
,
1958
Title
A "Lost" Viking Cereal Grain
Publication
J.Ethnobiol 1 (2): 200-207 1981
Author
Griffin L.C. & Rowlett R.M.
Publisher
 
Year
1981
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The plant is cultivated in Japan for making mats etc[
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.
].

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.
,
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.
,
1958
Title
A "Lost" Viking Cereal Grain
Publication
J.Ethnobiol 1 (2): 200-207 1981
Author
Griffin L.C. & Rowlett R.M.
Publisher
 
Year
1981
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. It can be ground into a flour and used to make bread[
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
]. A delicious taste[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
] but very fiddly to use, the seed is small and hard to extract[
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 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[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The protein content of this grain is said to rival that of red beans or salmon[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. (This report seems somewhat surprising, protein levels are not usually anywhere near that high in a cereal[
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 plants have a very extensive root system and so they are often planted near the coast in order to stabilize sand dunes[
190
Title
The Dry Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Chatto. B.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1982
ISBN
0460045512
Description
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. They can also be used as a ground cover for sandy open spaces but can be invasive[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
208
Title
Plants for Ground Cover
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons
Year
1990
ISBN
0-460-12609-1
Description
An excellent detailled book on the subject, very comprehensive.
].

Other Uses

The leaves are used for making mats, rope, paper etc[
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.
]. The leaves are a useful material for weaving baskets, making mats etc[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow mid spring in situ and only just cover the seed[
162
Title
Ornamental Grasses.
Publication
 
Author
Grounds. R.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1989
ISBN
0-7470-1219-9
Description
Cultivation details of many of the grasses and bamboos. Well illustrated.
]. 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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]
Division in spring or summer[
162
Title
Ornamental Grasses.
Publication
 
Author
Grounds. R.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1989
ISBN
0-7470-1219-9
Description
Cultivation details of many of the grasses and bamboos. Well illustrated.
]. 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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2023-01-28. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Leymus+arenarius>

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