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Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Grasses Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)

General: Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) is a perennial, mat-forming grass that forms extensive "lawns" around salt marshes and areas with damp, salty soils. Saltgrass is strongly 2-ranked and often yellowish.

Saltgrass is a common component of vegetation associations in wet areas with salty soils (e.g., salt marshes and moist, alkaline areas) in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones. Distichlis is the common species found in such places.

Around Las Vegas, look for Saltgrass at Salt Creek and Death Valley National Park, at Calico Basin in Red Rock Canyon NCA, and at Corn Creek in the Desert National Wildlife Range.

Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)

Family: Grass (Poaceae).

Other Names:

Plant Form: Perennial, mat-forming grass.

Height: Usually ankle to shin-high; to 1-1/2 feet.

Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)

Stems: Long and running; ascending. Stems round and solid in cross-section.

Leaves: Long and thin: 1-4 inches long by about 2/10s of an inch wide.

Flowers: Blooms April to July. Inflorescence panicle-like, 1-3 inches long. Flowers compressed.

Seeds: Achene (like a tiny sunflower seed).

Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)

Habitat: Sandy and gravelly soils in salt marshes and areas with damp, salty soils.

Elevation: Below about 5,000 feet.

Distribution: Western U.S.

Comments: Saltgrass might be confused with the weedy species Bermudagrass; however, the flowerheads are quite different.

Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Saltgrass is two-ranked with alternating branches and leaves
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Leaved alternate
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Flowers compressed, flattened (2-ranked)
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
Flowers in dense, spike-like panicles

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141118

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