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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Ammophila breviligulata (American beachgrass)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Ammophila breviligulata

Ammophila breviligulata Fernald

American Beachgrass, American Beach Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)


USDA Symbol: ambr

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

A tall, erect, stiff perennial grass arising from long subsurface rhizomes. A leaf cluster surrounds an elongated flowering spike, unlike other beach grasses.

American Beach Grass, the most common dune plant along much of the Atlantic Coast, is important as a dune stabilizer, for it can withstand burial within a shifting dune by sending up vertical rhizomes that produce new emerging stems. This plantís rhizome mat is both horizontal and vertical, and its roots over 20í deep beneath the sand, thus serving to knit a dune together. One of the first plants to appear where sand dunes are forming on a shoreline. As sand builds up around the new grass, the stems grow higher. Old stems become roots which can eventually extend 3-4 m below the top of a sand dune. Can be found on the Atlantic coast and the lower Great Lakes.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: CA , CT , DE , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SC , VA , VT , WI
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Newfoundland to North Carolina.
Native Habitat: Back beaches and sand dunes.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy


Attracts: Birds

Mr. Smarty Plants says

When to plant grasses on Long Island, NY
December 06, 2009
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; Are there any grass seeds that I can plant NOW, early December, on Long Island, NY? The planting environment is on and near a sandy bluff on a bayshore, where it can be windy ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
May 30, 2008
We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The ...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

North American Native Plant Society - Etobicoke, ON

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1991 VOL. 8, NO.6 - Wildflower Seeds and Germination, Special Intern Appeal Enjoys Great Success, Di...
Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.3 - Water and Landscaping with Native Plants, Research Update, Research Director's R...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ammophila breviligulata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ammophila breviligulata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ammophila breviligulata


Record Modified: 2022-11-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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