Marram Grass

©Philip Precey

Marram Grass

Scientific name: Ammophila arenaria
The dense, spiky tufts of Marram Grass are a familiar sight on our windswept coasts. In fact, its matted roots help to stabilise sand dunes, allowing them to grow up and become colonised by other species.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The dense, grey-green tufts of Marram Grass are a familiar feature of our coastal sand dunes, its spiky leaves featuring in many games during long summer picnics at the beach. But Marram Grass is not just a convenient child's sword or hiding place, it plays a vital role in stabilising the dunes, its fibrous, matted roots binding the sand down, which helps to encourage the colonisation of other plants. Well-adapted to a harsh life at the coast, its glossy, rolled-up leaves protect it from drying out.; it flowers in July and August.

How to identify

The dense tufts of spiky Marram Grass are a distinctive feature of this plant. Its leaves are rolled and it displays densely packed, golden flower spikes.

Distribution

Widespread around the UK's coast.

Did you know?

Marram Grass was once harvested and weaved into mats for barn roofs, nets for fishing and even shoes. Traditionally, each family had its own sand dune, but the whole village would often be involved in collecting the grass. Today, the importance of Marram Grass in stabilising these fragile habitats has curbed its harvesting.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.