Open the Advanced Search

Marram Grass

Ammophila arenaria

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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, Borrer's Saltmarsh 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, 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:
2 metres tall
Beaches, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside.

Yellow, no petals
The flowers of Marram Grass are inconspicuous and typically arranged in a spike-like inflorescence called a spikelet. Each spikelet contains small, densely packed flowers. The flowering stems rise above the grassy leaves, and the flowers may have long, feathery stigmas extending from the spikelet. The overall appearance is subtle, with a focus on wind pollination to ensure reproduction. The flowers contribute to the overall aesthetic of the plant, although Marram Grass is more renowned for its crucial role in stabilizing coastal dunes and preventing erosion.
Marram Grass produces small, dry fruits known as caryopses. These fruits are single-seeded and are enclosed within the spikelet, which is part of the flowering structure. The caryopses have a hard outer layer and may be dispersed by wind or other environmental factors. While not a prominent feature of the plant, the fruits play a role in the reproductive cycle, contributing to the propagation of Marram Grass in its sandy coastal habitats.
The leaves of Marram Grass are long, narrow, and tough, featuring a characteristic rolled or folded structure. These adaptations help to reduce water loss and prevent damage from strong coastal winds. The leaves are typically green and have a coarse texture. Marram Grass leaves are arranged in tufts or clumps, forming dense bunches that contribute to the plant's ability to stabilize sand dunes by trapping and binding sand. The leaf blades may have a slightly rough surface and are an essential part of Marram Grass's adaptation to thrive in its coastal habitat.
Marram Grass is not generally known for having a distinct fragrance. The plant is primarily appreciated for its ecological role in stabilizing coastal dunes rather than for any aromatic qualities. The focus of Marram Grass lies in its adaptability to coastal environments, its ability to prevent erosion, and its contribution to the overall health of coastal ecosystems. Therefore, it is not commonly sought after for its fragrance.
Other Names:
Bent Grass, European Beachgrass, European Marram Grass, Marram, Mel Grass, Sea Matweed, Sea Reed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Ammophila arenaria, also known as European beachgrass or marram grass, is a species of grass native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial grass that can grow up to 2 meters tall, and has tough, fibrous roots. It has flat, narrow leaf blades and a seedhead that is about 20-30 cm long and composed of several long, narrow spikes.

It is tolerant of salt, wind and sand and is commonly found in sandy coastal habitats such as dunes and beachgrass, it is also a pioneer species and can be found in the early stages of dune formation, where it plays an important role in stabilizing and building dunes. It is a valuable plant for coastal stabilization and erosion control, it's also used to protect coastal habitats and communities against storm surges, waves, and flooding. Ammophila arenaria can also be grown as an ornamental plant, and it can be used as a specimen plant, in naturalistic gardens or as a hedge. It can be propagated by seed or division. It is also a valuable wildlife habitat and it is known to be a good nesting spot for birds.


Marram grass, scientifically known as Ammophila arenaria, is a remarkable grass species that is native to coastal sand dunes of Europe and North America. It is commonly known as beach grass, and it has a unique ability to stabilize sand dunes and prevent them from shifting and eroding.

Marram grass is a perennial grass species that can grow up to 2 m tall. Its leaves are narrow and rolled, with sharp edges that help the plant to retain water. The stems of the plant are tough and wiry, which helps it to withstand the strong winds and salt spray common in coastal environments.

One of the most remarkable features of marram grass is its extensive root system. The roots of the plant can grow up to 5 meters deep into the sand, allowing it to anchor itself securely and prevent erosion caused by wind and water. The roots also help to stabilize the sand dunes by trapping sand particles and building up the dune over time.

Marram grass is a critical component of coastal ecosystems because it helps to protect the coastline from erosion and storm damage. It also provides habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

In addition to its ecological importance, marram grass has been used for various purposes by humans for centuries. It has been used to make baskets, ropes, and mats, and the leaves have been used as a natural insulation material for buildings. In some cultures, marram grass has been used for medicinal purposes to treat various ailments.

However, the importance of marram grass as a coastal ecosystem stabilizer has recently become increasingly recognized. As coastal areas around the world face increasing threats from climate change and rising sea levels, marram grass has become a critical tool for protecting coastlines and preventing erosion.

Marram grass is an incredibly important species in coastal ecosystems around the world. Its unique ability to stabilize sand dunes and prevent erosion makes it a crucial component of coastal protection efforts. As we continue to face increasing threats from climate change, protecting and preserving marram grass and other coastal ecosystems will become even more critical in the years ahead.

Marram grass is well adapted to living in harsh coastal environments. It is tolerant of salt spray and can survive in sandy soils with low nutrient levels. It also has a high tolerance for drought, which is important in coastal areas where rainfall can be scarce.

The plant is able to thrive in part due to its ability to form symbiotic relationships with certain fungi. These fungi form associations with the roots of the plant, helping it to absorb nutrients from the soil.

Marram grass is also able to reproduce both sexually and asexually. It produces seeds that are dispersed by the wind, allowing it to colonize new areas of sand dunes. It can also spread through rhizomes, allowing it to form extensive clonal colonies.

One of the challenges facing marram grass is habitat loss due to human activities. Development, recreational activities, and erosion caused by climate change can all negatively impact coastal ecosystems and the plant species that depend on them.

Conservation efforts for marram grass and other coastal species are therefore critical for maintaining the health and resilience of these important ecosystems. Efforts may include habitat restoration, erosion control, and reducing human impacts on coastal areas.

Marram grass is a remarkable plant species that plays a critical role in stabilizing coastal sand dunes and protecting them from erosion. Its unique adaptations and ecological importance make it a valuable asset for coastal conservation efforts around the world. Protecting and preserving marram grass and other coastal species is essential for maintaining the health and resilience of our coastal ecosystems in the face of climate change and other threats.

One of the ways in which marram grass is being utilized for coastal conservation is through the process of beach nourishment. This involves the placement of large amounts of sand onto eroding beaches to create a wider and more stable beach area. Marram grass is often planted on these newly replenished beaches to help stabilize the sand and prevent erosion.

In addition to its ecological importance, marram grass also has cultural significance. In some areas, it is used for traditional crafts such as basket weaving, and in others, it is considered a symbol of resilience and endurance in the face of adversity.

Marram grass has also been the subject of scientific research. Researchers have studied the plant's root system and how it helps to stabilize sand dunes, as well as its role in nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration in coastal ecosystems.

Marram grass is a remarkable plant species that has many ecological, cultural, and scientific values. Its ability to stabilize sand dunes and protect coastal ecosystems makes it an essential component of coastal conservation efforts. As we continue to face the challenges of climate change and other threats to coastal areas, the importance of protecting and preserving marram grass and other coastal species will only continue to grow.

Marram grass has been introduced to other areas around the world where coastal sand dunes are under threat. For example, it has been introduced to parts of Australia and New Zealand to help stabilize sand dunes in areas where they are being damaged by human activities and introduced species.

However, the introduction of marram grass can also have negative impacts on native species in some areas. In New Zealand, for example, marram grass has been found to outcompete native plant species in some coastal ecosystems. It is important to carefully consider the potential impacts of introducing non-native species before doing so.

In addition to its importance for coastal protection, marram grass also has potential uses in agriculture and bioenergy production. Its deep root system and ability to grow in sandy soils make it a potential candidate for use in phytoremediation, the process of using plants to clean up polluted soils.

Marram grass also has potential as a bioenergy crop. Researchers have studied its ability to produce high yields of biomass, which could be used as a renewable source of energy.

In conclusion, marram grass is a remarkable plant species that has many important ecological, cultural, and economic values. Its ability to stabilize coastal sand dunes and protect ecosystems makes it a valuable asset for coastal conservation efforts around the world. As we continue to face the challenges of climate change and other threats to coastal areas, the importance of protecting and preserving marram grass and other coastal species will only continue to grow.

30 Amazing Marram Grass Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Marram Grass is scientifically known as Ammophila arenaria.
  2. Coastal Specialist: It is a coastal plant, well adapted to sandy environments and is often found in dunes.
  3. Stabilizes Sand Dunes: Marram Grass plays a crucial role in stabilizing sand dunes by trapping and binding sand with its extensive root system.
  4. Rhizomatous Growth: It spreads through rhizomes, underground stems that give rise to new shoots and help in its colonization of sandy areas.
  5. Salt Tolerance: Marram Grass exhibits high salt tolerance, making it well-suited for growth in saline environments near the ocean.
  6. Wind-Resistant: Its long, narrow leaves are adapted to withstand strong coastal winds, reducing the impact of erosion on dunes.
  7. Sand Accumulation: Marram Grass has a unique adaptation where it traps and accumulates wind-blown sand around its base, promoting dune growth.
  8. Root System: The extensive root system of Marram Grass helps in stabilizing the soil and preventing erosion.
  9. Seasonal Growth: It typically experiences rapid growth during the warmer months, aiding in dune stabilization during periods of increased wind and weathering.
  10. Drought Resistance: Marram Grass exhibits resilience to drought conditions, an important adaptation for survival in sandy, arid environments.
  11. Ecological Importance: It provides habitat and nesting sites for various bird species, contributing to coastal biodiversity.
  12. Seed Dispersal: Marram Grass disperses its seeds by the wind, allowing for the colonization of new areas.
  13. Sand Accumulation: The growth of Marram Grass contributes to the accumulation of sand, forming protective barriers against storm surges and coastal flooding.
  14. Habitat for Insects: The dense growth of Marram Grass creates habitats for insects, which, in turn, attract birds and other wildlife.
  15. Sand Binding: Marram Grass effectively binds sand particles together, preventing them from being easily carried away by wind or water.
  16. Adaptation to Harsh Conditions: Its ability to thrive in harsh coastal conditions, including exposure to salt spray and strong winds, makes it a hardy plant.
  17. Shelter for Wildlife: Marram Grass provides shelter and protection for small animals and insects living in coastal ecosystems.
  18. Erosion Control: Widely used in erosion control projects, Marram Grass is planted to stabilize soil and prevent the loss of valuable coastal land.
  19. Cultural Uses: In some regions, Marram Grass has cultural significance and is used in crafts or for thatching roofs.
  20. Culinary Use: In certain cultures, young Marram Grass shoots are edible and can be consumed.
  21. Sand Stabilization: The root system of Marram Grass is crucial for stabilizing shifting sands and preventing the migration of dunes.
  22. Longevity: Individual Marram Grass plants can live for several years, contributing to long-term dune stability.
  23. Marram Grass Communities: It often grows in communities, creating a network of interconnected plants that collectively contribute to coastal ecosystem health.
  24. Economic Value: Marram Grass has economic value in the form of erosion prevention, making it a valuable resource for coastal management.
  25. Global Distribution: Found in coastal areas around the world, Marram Grass is a common sight on many sandy shores.
  26. Nitrogen Fixation: Marram Grass has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, contributing to soil fertility in its vicinity.
  27. Resistance to Sand Movement: The unique structure of Marram Grass helps in preventing sand movement, stabilizing dunes against wind and water erosion.
  28. Dune Restoration: It is often used in dune restoration projects to rebuild and reinforce damaged coastal ecosystems.
  29. Winter Dormancy: During the winter months, Marram Grass may experience dormancy, conserving energy until the next growing season.
  30. Environmental Indicator: The presence and health of Marram Grass can serve as an indicator of the overall health and stability of coastal ecosystems.


Marram Grass filmed at Lytham St. Anne's in Lancashire on the 12th June 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map