Beach grass

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Beach grass
Illustration: Common beach grass (Ammophila arenaria, left);  on the right is Agrostis canina

Illustration: Common beach grass ( Ammophila arenaria , left); on the right is Agrostis canina

Order : Sweet grass (Poales)
Family : Sweet grasses (Poaceae)
Subfamily : Pooideae
Genre : Beach grass
Scientific name

Beach grass ( Ammophila ) is a genus of plants from the sweet grass family (Poaceae). The name Ammophila is also the name of a sand wasp from the family of digger wasps (Sphecidae). The genus is now assigned to calamagrostis by some authors .


The species of the genus beach grass are rhizome-forming , perennial herbaceous plants with heights between 20 and about 130 centimeters. The stalk nodes are bare. The sharply pointed, blue-green leaf blades are long and narrow, about 2 to 5 millimeters wide and usually rolled up. The membranous ligules are not fringed, not clipped and about 1 to 30 millimeters long.

Beach grass on a dune on Sylt
American beach grass ( Ammophila breviligulata )

The inflorescence is a compact panicle that can reach up to 30 centimeters in length. It is omnipresent and contracted. The hairy spikelets are 9 to 15 millimeters long and flattened on the back. The two pointed and awnless glumes of the hermaphrodite single flowers are more or less the same shape and protrude from the lemmas . The lower glume is one-nerved, the upper one is one to three-nerved. The hairless, three- to five-veined lemmas are awned. The awns are not bent. The keeled palea are usually four-veined and relatively long. The flowers have three stamens between 4 and 5 millimeters long and two stigmas . The ovaries are bare. The medium-sized, egg-shaped fruits ( caryopses ) are grooved lengthways and somewhat flattened. The flowering period is from May to July.


The genus occurs with three species on the coasts of the Atlantic and its tributaries in Europe , North Africa and North America , but is also naturalized in Australia and Hawaii.


  • Common beach grass ( Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link , Syn. Calamagrostis arenaria (L.) Roth ) occurs on the Atlantic coast of Europe including the North and Baltic Seas and in the Mediterranean area and is naturalized in North America, Australia and Hawaii. There are two subspecies:
    • Ammophila arenaria subsp. arenaria , occurs on the Atlantic coast in northern and western Europe southwards to Spain.
    • Ammophila arenaria subsp. australis (Mabille) M.Laínz , occurs in the Mediterranean area to Romania and on the Canary Islands.
  • American beach grass ( Ammophila breviligulata Fernald , Syn .: Calamagrostis breviligulata (Fernald) Saarela ) occurs on the Atlantic coast of North America from Newfoundland to North Carolina and on the Great Lakes.
  • Ammophila champlainensis F. Seym. (Syn .: Calamagrostis breviligulata subsp. Champlainensis (F.Seym.) Saarela ): It occurs in the northeastern USA in the states of Maine , Massachusetts , New York and Vermont .


  • L. Watson, MJ Dallwitz: The Grass Genera of the World. DELTA online online , accessed December 28, 2006.
  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: The great pikeperch. Encyclopedia of Plant Names. Volume 2. Types and varieties. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7 , p. 1199.

Web links

Commons : Beachgrass ( Ammophila )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Rafaël Govaerts (Ed.): Calamagrostis. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  2. Benito Valdés, Hildemar Scholz; Eckhard von Raab-Straube, Gerald Parolly (collaborators): Poaceae (pro parte majore). Ammophila. In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Berlin 2009.
  3. ^ AS Hitchcock, Agnes Chase: Manual of the Grasses of the United States. 2nd Edition. Dover Publications, New York, p. 329.