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Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass

Puccinellia fasciculata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Ditches, marshes, roadsides, saltmarshes, seaside, walls.

Green, no petals
Dense clusters of green flower spikes, purple tinged. The inflorescence is narrow and erect, up to 20cm in length. Each spike contains between 3 and 8 flowers.
The fruit is a caryopsis which is a type of one-seeded fruit.
A hairless perennial with greyish blue-green tinged leaves. The leaves are flat, smooth and linear.
Other Names:
Alkali Salt Grass, Torrey Alkali Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Puccinellia fasciculata, commonly known as alkali salt grass, is a species of grass that is native to North America, including parts of Canada and the United States. It is a perennial grass that typically grows to a height of 30–60 cm (12–24 in) and forms dense, tufted clumps. The leaf blades are typically 2–5 mm wide and the inflorescence is a spike-like panicle that can be up to 15 cm long. It produces inconspicuous, greenish-brown flowers in the summer and it is wind-pollinated.

This species is commonly found in saline soils, such as alkali flats, salt marshes, and saline meadows. It is also found in coastal saltwater marshes, as well as on salt-impacted soils, such as those near roads and agricultural lands. It is highly salt tolerant and can also grow on nutrient-poor soils. Because of its high salt tolerance, this species is considered a valuable plant for revegetation of salt-impacted soils.


Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, scientifically known as Puccinellia fasciculata, is a perennial grass species that belongs to the Poaceae family. This species is native to North America, particularly along the eastern coast from Newfoundland to Florida. It is commonly found in coastal salt marshes, tidal flats, and sandy beaches.


Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass has a unique appearance with a thin and erect stem that grows up to 90 centimeters in height. Its narrow leaves are grayish-green and grow up to 15 centimeters in length. The flowerhead is typically open and branched, producing several spikelets that contain tiny florets.

Ecological Importance

Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass plays a vital role in coastal ecosystems. It is an important food source for several species of birds, including the Saltmarsh Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, and Seaside Sparrow. In addition, this grass species helps stabilize the soil, prevent erosion, and maintain the structure of salt marshes. The dense root system of Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass helps trap sediment and organic matter, which improves soil quality and nutrient availability for other plants and animals.

Threats and Conservation

Despite its ecological importance, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is facing several threats, including habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation due to human activities such as coastal development, aquaculture, and agriculture. Sea-level rise and climate change also pose significant threats to this species and its habitat. As a result, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is listed as a species of concern by several conservation organizations and agencies.

Conservation efforts for Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass include habitat protection, restoration, and management. These efforts aim to maintain and restore the natural functions of salt marsh ecosystems, including providing habitat for wildlife, improving water quality, and mitigating the impacts of coastal storms and flooding. In addition, research on the biology, ecology, and population dynamics of Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is essential for developing effective conservation strategies.

Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is a unique and important species that plays a crucial role in coastal ecosystems. Its ecological importance makes it a valuable species for conservation efforts, but its habitat is under threat due to human activities and climate change. Protecting and restoring the habitat of Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is crucial for maintaining the ecological health and resilience of coastal ecosystems.

More Information

Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is not only important for its ecological role but also has cultural and economic significance. Historically, Native American communities have used this grass species for food, medicine, and crafts. Today, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is also used for erosion control, reclamation of disturbed land, and as a component in wetland restoration projects.

In addition, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is a valuable indicator species for monitoring the health of salt marshes. The presence or absence of this species can indicate the quality and extent of salt marsh habitats, which is important for assessing the impacts of human activities and climate change.

To support the conservation of Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass and its habitat, individuals and communities can take actions such as reducing their carbon footprint, supporting habitat restoration projects, and advocating for policies and regulations that protect coastal ecosystems. Additionally, individuals can learn about the importance of salt marsh ecosystems and spread awareness about the threats they face.

Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass also provides several ecosystem services that are important for human well-being. Salt marshes, where this species is commonly found, provide critical habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish species, such as blue crabs and striped bass. Salt marshes also act as a natural buffer against coastal storms and flooding, reducing the impacts of these events on nearby communities.

In addition, salt marshes and their associated habitats are important for recreational activities such as birdwatching, hiking, and fishing, providing economic benefits to local communities. Protecting and restoring the habitat of Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass and other salt marsh species not only benefits the environment but also supports sustainable economic development.

Conservation efforts for Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass and other salt marsh species also provide opportunities for collaboration between different stakeholders, including scientists, policymakers, community members, and private sector organizations. By working together, these stakeholders can develop effective strategies for conserving coastal ecosystems and promoting sustainable development.

In conclusion, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass is an important and unique species that plays a critical role in coastal ecosystems. Its conservation is essential for maintaining the ecological health and resilience of these habitats and for supporting the well-being of local communities. By valuing and protecting the natural resources that support us, we can ensure a sustainable future for both people and the environment.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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