Whidbey Island Beachwatchers

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Ammophila arenaria (Beach grass)

Beach grass image
Photos & text by Mary Jo Adams Copyright © 2003

Beach grass ( Ammophila arenaria ) is one of the two grasses that grow along our beaches.  It grows to about 3 feet as does Dune grass (Elymus mollis), but the blades are much more narrow (only about 4 mm wide) than the blades of Dune grass and are yellow green in color. This is an invasive species that has literally changed the shape of our shores. It was introduced in 1869 from Europe. It loves shifting, moving sand, which it is able to trap and hold onto. The sand trapping causes steep dunes that form parallel along the beach. These types of dunes were not seen along Pacific shores prior to its introduction.

This page was created on May 6, 2004.




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