Group Title: Contribution (Florida. Division of Plant Industry) ;
Title: Sea oats, Uniola paniculata, a valuable native sand-binding grass of coastal dunes /
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 Material Information
Title: Sea oats, Uniola paniculata, a valuable native sand-binding grass of coastal dunes /
Series Title: Contribution (Florida. Division of Plant Industry) ;
Physical Description: 1 leaf (2 p.) : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Langdon, Kenneth R., 1928-
Florida -- Division of Plant Industry
Publisher: Fla. Dept. Agric. & Consumer Serv., Division of Plant Industry
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date: 1982
Subject: Sand dune plants -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Beach plants -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: K.R. Langdon.
General Note: "June 1982."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00102887
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 50703382

Full Text

Botany Circular No. 17 Fla. Dept. A ric. & A m LnSei vices
June 1982 D vision of $m Industry

Sea oats, Uniola paniculata, a valuable native MAR 197
sand-binding grass of coastal dun es

K. R. Langdon UvsS Of Florida

Very few species of plants can survive on the ocean side of the first or
foredune along our beaches. Sea oats, Uniola paniculata L. (Fig. 1), is one of
the most important of these, forming a major part of the pioneer vegetation and
helping to bind and stabilize the sand. Some other important plants in this
habitat also helping stabilize the coastal dunes are beach bean or sea bean,
Canavalia maritima (Aubl.) Thouars; beach morning glory, Ipomoea stolonifera
(Cyrillo) Poiret; railroad vine, Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Brown; sea rocket,
Cakile sp.; and beach elder, Iva imbricata Walter (1,2). Beyond the crest of the
foredune other species of plants also become important. Vegetation along the
coast is the best protection against both wave and wind erosion.

Fig. 1. Sea oats growing on foredune of a Florida
Atlantic coast beach. (DPI #702482)

Uniola paniculata is a robust grass around 3 ft (1 m) tall with extensively
creeping underground rhizomes or runners and a deep, wide-spreading root system.
The tall seed heads have long been popular for dried arrangements. It grows in
sometimes extensive colonies along the coasts of the southeastern United States,
the West Indies and eastern Mexico. The distribution in the United States extends

Contribution No. 18, Office of Systematic Botany, P.O. Box 1269, Gainesville,
Florida 32602.

, 4 -'

from Virginialto Florida and Texas. The usual habitat for sea oats is in essen-
tially barren sand and sand dunes exposed to wind, blowing sand, and salt spray in
very drought-pirone situations (1,2,3,4). It reproduces and spreads both by seed
Sand by underground runners. Sea oats will tolerate considerable burial by drift-
*.ing sand, spprt4- readily through several inches of new sand. It is a very
valuable plfat t2.use in-revegetating well drained, disturbed coastal sites. Sea
I.oa.tS_-atandctsTr very sensitive to man-made disturbances and should be protected
from both foot and vehicular traffic and other such disturbances.

Section 370.041, Florida Statutes, for beach erosion control, makes it illegal
to harvest or remove sea oats from any public land or from private land without
permission of the owner. This law provides, however, that licensed, certified
nurserymen who grow sea oats from seed or vegetatively are permitted to sell the
plants so grown. Several nurseries in the state can furnish planting material for
use in coastal revegetation.

Several restoration projects utilizing sea oats have been completed or are in
progress. Further use of these and other plants can accomplish much toward pre-
serving our beaches.


1. Barrick, W. E. 1979. Salt tolerant plants for Florida landscapes. State
Univ. System Fla., Sea Grant College Program. Report 28. 71p.
2. Bullard, L. F. 1979. Coastal plants of Florida. Fla. Dept. Agric. & Consumer
Services, Div. of Forestry. 38p.
3. Gould, F. W. 1975. The grasses of Texas. Texas A & M Univ. Press, College
Station. 653p.
4. Hitchcock, A. S. 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA
Misc. Publ. 200, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington. 1051p.

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