Puccinellia maritima (Huds.) Parl.

seaside alkali grass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Although seaside alkali grass has been considered native by some, the current consensus is that it is introduced from Europe by way of ships' ballast dumps. It inhabits only parts of the New England coast with a long history of settlement. It is catalogued in the British flora as a creeping perennial, growing 3-80 cm (1-30 inches) tall, with grayish-green or yellowing leaves with basal sheathes that may be membranous and dry.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), marshes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
2–4.4 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
5.5–13 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0 mm
Leaf ligule length
1–3.5 mm
Anther length
1.5–2.6 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.5–2.6 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    5–11
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    NA
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 1
    • 3
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence crowding
    • the panicle is somewhat to very congested (crowded), and the branches may not be clearly seen without close inspection
    • the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence length
    30–300 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    NA
    Lemma awn coiled
    NA
    Lemma awn length
    0 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has no awn
    Lemma awn orientation
    NA
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma has hairs at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    the lemma has fine hairs between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    NA
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma tip shape
    • the lemma tip tapers to a broad point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    • the lemma tip tapers to a narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    5
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma stay roughly parallel throughout
    Lower glume length
    2–3.5 mm
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    Spikelet length
    5.5–13 mm
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet position
    the spikelets emerge mainly from the upper halves of the inflorescence branches
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    2.8–4 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    • no
    • yes
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    NA
    Leaf blade cross-section
    • the leaf blade is clearly folded or rolled inwards
    • the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade width
    2–4.4 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    1–3.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • marshes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    20–100 cm
    Stem orientation
    • the stems are upright
    • the stems trail at the base, but turn upwards at the tips
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Puccinellia pumila

Synonyms

  • Poa maritima Huds.
  • Puccinellia americana Sörenson

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Puccinellia

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

3.  Puccinellia maritima (Huds.) Parl. E

seaside alkali grass. Poa maritima Huds.; Puccinellia americana Sörenson • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI. Puccinellia maritima is sometimes considered native to northeastern North America. Under such an interpretation, some authors have separated the northeastern plants from European plants as P. americana. However, it does not appear to be possible to separate many collections in the absence of geographic data. Further, this species is believed to be largely 
or wholly introduced by Davis and Consaul (2007). Given that its distribution is limited to areas of the northeastern coastline with a long history of settlement and that it is known to have been introduced to some states on ballast dumps, it is here considered non-native as well.