Spike Grass - Distichlis spicata
Habitat Salt marshes
Range From Prince Edward Island south to Florida, west along the Gulf Coast to Texas.
Description Short, wiry grass found in the higher elevations of a salt marsh, often in dense stands.
Ecological Notes These plants can tolerate wet, saline regions. Distichlis are categorized as opportunistic plants; they are weak competitors, however, they can colonize and grow quickly. They will survive until a better competitor begins to grow and invade their region, ultimately out-competing the Distichlis.
Personal Information While we were walking in the salt marsh near the Oregon Inlet Marina, we saw that on the worn down walking paths, small patches of Distichlis had popped up showing that they can grow quicker than the other salt marsh plants.
Journal Articles To learn about the suggestion that the growth of Distichlis spicata in a saline discharge site can improve overall soil condition, please see:
http://apps.isiknowledge.com/full_record.do?product=WOS&search_mode=GeneralSearch&qid=5&SID=2ANiag6@feGchcinlM8&page=1&doc=4 Sargeant MR (Sargeant, M. R.), Tang C (Tang, C.), Sale PWG (Sale, P. W. G.). (2008). The ability of Distichlis spicata to grow sustainably within a saline discharge zone while improving the soil chemical and physical properties. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL RESEARCH, 46 (1), 37-44.
To understand how researchers have pioneered a study in trying to domesticate Distichlis as a livestock feed, please see:
http://apps.isiknowledge.com/full_record.do?product=WOS&search_mode=GeneralSearch&qid=5&SID=2ANiag6@feGchcinlM8&page=2&doc=14 Bustan A, Pasternak D, Pirogova I, Durikov M, Devries TT, El-Meccawi S, Degen AA. (2005). Evaluation of saltgrass as a fodder crop for livestock. JOURNAL OF THE SCIENCE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE, 85 (12), 2077-2084.
Contributed by Savannah Frank - 2008