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Stiff Saltmarsh Grass

Puccinellia rupestris

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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, 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, 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, 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:
150 centimetres tall
Rocky places, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, walls.

Green, no petals
A cluster of erect, one-sided, whorled branches. The spikelets are less than 3mm across. 3 anthers. 3 stamens. 2 stigmas.
The fruit is an oval caryopsis with longitudinal ridges.
Smooth, hairless, linear leaves, up to 1cm wide.
Other Names:
Rock Salt Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Puccinellia rupestris is a species of grass in the genus Puccinellia. It is commonly known as the rock salt grass, and is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is found in a wide range of habitats, including saline soils, coastal dunes, and rocky or gravelly areas, and is particularly adapted to living in soils with high salt concentrations. It is a perennial grass that has a bunchgrass growth habit and forms dense clumps. The leaf blades are narrow, and the plant produces spikes of small, green flowers in the summer.

This species often used to restore saline habitats and is considered a salt tolerant grass, also could be valuable in reclamation of areas with salinity problems. It is considered as good soil stabilizer and erosion control agent in habitats such as sandy dunes, salt marshes and coastal areas.


Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, also known as Puccinellia rupestris, is a perennial grass species that is commonly found in coastal saltmarshes, dunes, and other wetlands. This grass species is characterized by its stiff, upright stems that can grow up to 1.5 meters tall, and its leaves that are narrow and bluish-green in color.

Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is native to Europe, where it is found along the coasts of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. However, it has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America, where it is considered an invasive species.

One of the unique features of Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is its ability to tolerate high levels of salinity in the soil. This makes it well-suited for growing in saltmarshes and other coastal wetlands where other plant species may struggle to survive. The deep, fibrous root system of Stiff Saltmarsh Grass allows it to anchor firmly in the soil and withstand the strong winds and tidal currents that are common in coastal environments.

Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is an important species in coastal ecosystems, providing habitat and food for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. Its dense growth pattern can also help to stabilize and protect coastal soils from erosion.

Despite its important ecological role, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is often considered a nuisance species in areas where it has been introduced outside of its native range. It can quickly spread and outcompete native plant species, leading to a loss of biodiversity and changes to the overall structure of the ecosystem.

In addition to its ecological impact, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass can also have economic impacts. In some areas, it can clog drainage systems and impede the flow of water, leading to flooding and other problems.

Efforts are underway in some regions to control the spread of Stiff Saltmarsh Grass and restore native plant communities in affected areas. This may involve physical removal of the grass, as well as the use of herbicides and other management techniques.

Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, or Puccinellia rupestris, is a species that belongs to the Poaceae family, which includes other important grass species such as wheat, barley, and rice. This grass species has adapted to harsh environments, including high levels of salinity and waterlogging, by developing specialized mechanisms that allow it to cope with these stresses.

One such mechanism is the accumulation of certain ions in its cells, such as sodium and chloride, which help to maintain the water balance and osmotic potential of the plant. Stiff Saltmarsh Grass also has a unique type of photosynthesis, called C4 photosynthesis, which allows it to fix carbon more efficiently than other grass species in low-carbon dioxide environments.

These adaptations make Stiff Saltmarsh Grass an interesting subject of study for researchers interested in understanding how plants cope with environmental stresses. By studying the genetic and physiological mechanisms that allow this species to thrive in harsh environments, scientists may be able to develop new crop varieties that are more resistant to drought, salinity, and other environmental stresses.

In addition to its ecological and scientific importance, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass has cultural significance as well. In some parts of the world, including Europe, the grass has been used for centuries as a source of thatching material for roofing and other traditional applications.

Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is an important species that plays a crucial role in coastal ecosystems. While it can be invasive in some areas, its adaptations to environmental stress make it an interesting subject of study for scientists, and its cultural significance underscores its importance to human societies as well.

In addition to its ecological, scientific, and cultural importance, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass has also been used for various medicinal purposes. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is used to treat liver diseases, urinary tract infections, and other ailments.

Recent studies have also shown that Stiff Saltmarsh Grass may have potential for use in phytoremediation, which is the use of plants to remove pollutants from the soil or water. The deep, fibrous root system of this grass species can help to trap and absorb heavy metals and other pollutants, making it a promising candidate for use in contaminated sites.

Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is also an important food source for livestock in some regions, particularly in northern Europe. The grass is high in protein and other nutrients, and its ability to tolerate high levels of salinity makes it a valuable feed source for animals that are raised in coastal areas.

Despite its many benefits, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is often threatened by human activities such as development, coastal erosion, and pollution. Efforts to conserve this species and its associated ecosystems are therefore crucial for maintaining biodiversity and promoting sustainable development in coastal regions.

In conclusion, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass is a fascinating and important species that has adapted to harsh environments and provides numerous ecological, scientific, cultural, medicinal, and economic benefits. While it can be invasive in some areas, efforts to control its spread and protect native plant communities can help to promote a healthy and diverse coastal ecosystem.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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