The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Surf Grass
Phyllospadix scouleri is a
Western N. America - Alaska to California.
Intertidal and sub-tidal levels on the Pacific coast[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it is hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. The main problem with this plant is that it is likely to require maritime conditions and possibly also periodic inundation in salt water, so it might not be possible to cultivate the plant under normal garden conditions.
Plants of Phyllospadix grow attached to rocks, many of which are exposed at low tide. In summary Phyllospadix vegetation protects the rocky substrate from erosion, and by accumulating sand in and between the tussocks, transforms the rocky substrate into sandy beaches or sublittoral sand flats. Rejuvenation of the Phyllospadix vegetation, however, is then no longer possible on the sand-covered rocks. The plants eventually die, exposing the sand-covered rocks to wave action, which results in erosion of the sand, again exposing the rocks[
Root - raw or cooked. Eaten in spring[
]. The entire plant, including the long salty-tasting leaves, were formed into square cakes and dried as a winter food by some native North American Indian tribes[
The leaves were occasionally cooked and eaten by some native North American Indian tribes[
Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe if this is possible in a greenhouse and perhaps adding some salt to the soil. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.