Scientific Name: Distichlis spicata

Common Name: saltgrass

Other Common Names: sea-shore salt-grass, desert saltgrass, inland saltgrass, marsh spikegrass,

Synonyms: Distichlis spicata ssp. stricta, Distichlis spicata var. borealis, Distichlis spicata var. divaricata, Distichlis spicata var. nana, Distichlis spicata var. stolonifera, Distichlis spicata var. stricta, Distichlis stricta, Uniola spicata

Habit: This crawling perennial, flowers from February through November.

Leaves: The alternate leaves are composed of three ovate or elliptic leaflets. Each 2 to 6 mm long leaflets are hairy and have rounded teeth along the margins. The creeping stems have many runners, and are also hairy.

Identifying Characteristics: This plant is similar to the wild strawberry, and can be identified by the rounded teeth on the leaf margins, and also by the yellow flowers. Unlike cinquefoil, there are only 3 leaflets.

Flower Seed Head: Single flowers arise from the leaf axils on long petioles. Each small flower has 5 yellow petals.

Seed Fruit: The small, fleshy, strawberry-like fruit can be found from April through November. The surface of each fruit is covered with many small pits, or achenes, containing the seeds.

Where Found: This plant prefers moist, open, shady areas, and can be found growing along forests, in pastures, and in lawns.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Plant family: Poaceae