Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

General: Sea oats is a native, warm-season,

semi-tropical, rhizomatous perennial, C4 grass dominating many beach and dune environments. Culms are stout, erect 1-2 meters tall, nodes and internodes glabrous. Leaves are both basal and cauline with blades elongate to 60 cm long and 1.2 cm wide, both surfaces glabrous. The inflorescence is a large open panicle 8-15 cm long with flat yellowish spikelets, 10-20 flowered. Seed heads become a yellow-brown, straw color in late summer and into the fall.

Distribution: Sea oats occurs along the U.S. coast and barrier islands from Virginia through Florida, the Gulf coast, and south to Mexico. However, it is uncommon in Louisiana west of the Mississippi River delta over to Texas.

Habitat: Sea oats is typically found on loose sands of upper beaches, and the more exposed and accreting areas of dunes such as foredunes and dune crests. It is one of the few species that are able to establish and grow in this dynamic beach zone. Sea oats thrives and is actually stimulated where sand is actively accumulating. It is highly tolerant of xeric conditions, but sea oats does not tolerate water logging of roots, which will stress or kill plants within a few days. There are also beneficial microorganisms associated with the roots of sea oats. Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are reported to increase the surface area of roots facilitating nutrient absorption and improving nutrition of sea oats communities.

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USDA NRCS Golden Meadow Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Sea oats occurs along the mainland coast and barrier islands from
Northampton County, Virginia, through Florida [14]. It continues west
along the Gulf coast through Texas and south to Tabasco, Mexico [11].
It is also widely distributed in the Bahama islands and occurs on some
sandy areas of the northwestern coast of Cuba [2,4,10,21].
  • 21. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 10. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667]
  • 2. Clewell, Andre F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press. 605 p. [13124]
  • 4. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 11. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Gramineae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7): 1093-1101. [21973]
  • 14. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]

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Occurrence in North America

AL FL GA LA MS NC SC TX VA MEXICO

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Uniola paniculata L.:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)
Caribbean (Caribbean)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

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U. paniculata occurs from Northhampton County, Virginia through Florida, the Gulf Coast, and Texas, south to Tabasco, Mexico. Sea oats is also widely distributed throughout the Bahamas and some areas of northwestern Cuba. Uniola paniculata occurs throughout the extensive barrier island system bordering the Indian River Lagoon. It is the dominant plant species on foredunes and dune crests.
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Adaptation

Sea oats is an excellent pioneering species on upper beaches, fore-dunes, and dune crests, where loose sands accumulate. If is tolerant of salt spray, short periods of inundation by saltwater, rapid sand burial, and it is very drought tolerant. The extensive system of rhizomes and roots binds and holds blowing sands.

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USDA NRCS Golden Meadow Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Sea oats is a native, perennial, semitropical, rhizomatous C4 grass
[12,14]. Culms are stout and 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1-2 m) tall [2,4].
Leaves are both basal and cauline; leaf blades are up to 24 inches (60
cm) long. The inflorescence is a narrow condensed panicle 8 to 20
inches (20-50 cm) long [21]. Spikelets are very flat, 10- to
20-flowered, and 0.6 to 1.2 inches (1.5-3.0 cm) long [2,14]; they
disarticulate below the glumes and fall entire. The fruit is a
caryopsis [10]. Rhizomes are elongated and extensively creeping [2,14],
readily rooting at the nodes when buried by sand [4]. Sea oats develops
a dense concentration of surface roots as well as a penetrating system
of deep roots [12].
  • 21. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 10. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667]
  • 2. Clewell, Andre F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press. 605 p. [13124]
  • 4. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 12. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3): 289-296. [21972]
  • 14. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome elongate, creeping, stems distant, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems solitary, Stems caespitose, tufte d, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence lax, widely spreading, branches drooping, pendulous, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets laterally c ompressed, Spikelet 10-15 mm wide, Spikelets with 8-40 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating below the glumes, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 3 nerved, Glumes 4-7 nerved, Lemma similar in texture to glumes, Lemma coriaceous, firmer or thicker in texture than the glumes, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma 8-15 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma awnless, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Palea keels winged, scabrous, or ciliate, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Size

Growth in this species can be rapid under optimal conditions and is stimulated by burial in sand. Plants grow as tall as 1-2 meters (approximately 6 feet), with leaves measuring up to 60 cm (24 inches), and spikelets of 20-50 cm (10-20 inches) (Radford et al. 1968).
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Type Information

Neotype for Uniola paniculata Llanos
Catalog Number: US 904098
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: ; Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. D. Merrill
Year Collected: 1914
Locality: Luzon., Luzon, Manila, Philippines, Asia-Tropical
  • Neotype: Llanos, A. Fragm. Pl. Filip. 32.; Veldkamp, J. F. 2002. Blumea. 47 (1): 172.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type collection for Uniola floridana Gand.
Catalog Number: US 383700
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. M. Tracy
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Santa Rosa Island, Florida, United States, North America
  • Type collection: Gandoger, M. 1920. Bull. Soc. Bot. France. 66: 304.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Isotype for Uniola macrostachys Gand.
Catalog Number: US 383665
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. M. Tracy & F. E. Lloyd
Year Collected: 1900
Locality: Breton Id., Breton I., Louisiana, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Gandoger, M. 1920. Bull. Soc. Bot. France. 66: 304.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type collection for Uniola heterochroa Gand.
Catalog Number: US 387546
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. S. Hitchcock
Locality: Ad Punta Rassa Loe., Lee, Florida, United States, North America
  • Type collection: Gandoger, M. 1920. Bull. Soc. Bot. France. 66: 304.
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Look Alikes

NoneDescription: Uniola paniculata is a semitropical perennial that dominates beach and dune communities (Sylvia 1986; Hester and Mendelssohn 1989, 1991; Bachman and Whitwell 1995). It is a tall, erect grass whose leaves grow 20-40 cm (8-16 inches) in length, and approximately 0.6 cm (1/4 inch) in width. Leaves are thin and taper into pointed tips.Seed heads are large, and become a yellow-brown, straw color in late summer (amos and Amos 1997). Its growth functions to trap wind-blown sands that eventually mound to begin dune formation (Johnson and Barbour 1990). This species is both an excellent pioneering species due to its ability to rapidly colonize and establish itself, and an excellent climax species due to its high tolerance to sea water and salt spray. U. paniculata forms dense surface roots and penetrating deep roots (Hester and Mendelssohn 1987). Rhizomes are elongate and extensively creeping in habit. They readily root upon burial in sand (Hitchcock 1951; Clewell 1985; Duncan and Duncan 1987). Rhizomes produce extensive lateral growth which stabilizes continuous dune ridges (Duncan and Duncan 1987). Plants grow 1-2 meters tall (6 feet) with individual leaf blades reaching approximately 60 cm (24 inches). Flowering spikelets are flat and measure 20-50 cm (10-20 inches) (Radford et al. 1968).
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the term: forb

Sea oats is found on upper beaches, dunes, and loose sands near
seashores in the southeastern United States [2,4,10,14,15,21,29] but it
is seldom found in the forb zone of lower beaches [26]. Sea oats is one
of the most important grasses on dunes and continuous dune ridges [15]
because it helps build and maintain the sites on which it grows. Sea
oats is dominant on the ocean facing part of fore dunes, often dominant
at the top of the more stable second dune system, and much less
prominent in the depression between the two [1,15,16,23]. This reflects
the close zonal relationship of sea oats to the deposition of salt
spray. On Bogue Bank, North Carolina, sea oats was dominant where salt
spray was greatest. The highest salt concentration was on the windward
side of the fore dune; the crest of the rear dune had a somewhat lower
concentration, and the depression between the dune systems received much
less salt depostion [20].

Sea oats sites have in common exposure to wind, salt spray, storms,
drought [1], often deep and shifting sand, and occasional fires and salt
water inundation. These unstable habitats suffer wind and water
erosion. The soil has low water retaining ability and excellent
drainage. Evaporation rates are high due to constant air movement, high
temperatures, and full sunlight [20].

Sea oats is found on the Upper Keys of Florida, where sands are of coral
origin, and on the Lower Keys which are limestone and have carbonate
sands. The Atlantic seaboard beaches and dunes have siliceous sands.
Soils of the Gulf Coast islands are fine to medium sand, with almost no
organic content. On Cat Island, Texas, the organic content of the soil
in the sea oats zone was measured at 0.07 percent [20].

Soils on the Coastal Plain are strongly leached, rich in aluminum and
iron oxides, and usually deficient in many nutrients. However, salt
spray carries some essential micronutrients to beach and dune plants
[13,23].

Sea oats occurs on sands with the following reactions: Bogue Bank,
North Carolina, pH 7.4 to 7.9; Jupiter, Florida, pH 7.5; Cat Island,
Texas, pH 6.9 [3,20].

Climate in the maritime communities of the southeastern United States is
one of mild winters with high humidity and long, hot, humid summers.
The July mean temperature is about 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 deg C). On
the Atlantic coast most rainfall occurs during summer and early fall.
Rainfall averages over 39 inches (1,000 mm) per year, and in some places
considerably more. In Florida, Miami receives 60 inches (1,524 mm) of
precipitation annually; Key West receives 38 inches (965 mm); Tortugas
receives 33 inches (838 mm). There is a steady decrease in rainfall
from Pensacola, Florida, west to Brownsville, Texas, where rainfall is
27 inches (680 mm) per year. October and November are the driest months
on the northern and eastern Gulf coast. March is the driest month at
Brownsville, Texas [19,20,23].

Soil temperature variation on sea oats sites is greatest in the surface
inch of soil. In the early afternoon soil surface temperatures of 125
to 127 degrees Fahrenheit (52-53 deg C) are common in the early
afternoon when air temperature is 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (35-38
deg C) [20].
  • 21. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 10. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667]
  • 1. Carls, E. Glenn; Lonard, Robert I.; Fenn, Dennis B. 1991. Notes on the vegetation and flora of North Padre Island, Texas. Southwestern Naturalist. 36(1): 121-124. [14888]
  • 2. Clewell, Andre F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press. 605 p. [13124]
  • 3. Davis, John H., Jr. 1943. The natural features of southern Florida, especially the vegetation, and the Everglades. Geological Bull. No. 25. Tallahassee, FL: State of Florida, Department of Conservation, Florida Geological Survey. 311 p. [17748]
  • 4. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 13. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on phytosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concen. of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1): 21-29. [14435]
  • 14. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]
  • 15. Johnson, Ann F.; Barbour, Michael G. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 430-480. [17394]
  • 16. Johnson, A. Sydney; Hillestad, Hilburn O.; Shanholtzer, Sheryl Fanning; Shanholtzer, G. Frederick. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No 3, NPS 116. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 233 p. [16102]
  • 19. Mendelssohn, Irving A.; Hester, Mark W.; Monteferrante, Frank J.; Talbot, Fay. 1991. Experimental dune building and vegetative stabilization in a sand- deficient barrier island setting on the Louisiana coast, USA. Journal of Coastal Research. 7(1): 137-149. [17761]
  • 20. Oosting, Henry J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262. [10730]
  • 23. Stalter, Richard; Odum, William E. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, William H.; Boyce, Stephen G.; Echternacht, Arthur C., eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 117-163. [22010]
  • 26. Tyndall, R. Wayne; Teramura, Alan H.; Mulchi, Charles L.; Dougalss, Larry W. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86. [22110]
  • 29. Wunderlin, Richard P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Tampa, FL: University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. 472 p. [13125]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: vine

Sea oats is listed as a dominant in the following published
classification:

Plant communities of Texas (Series level) [25]

Besides those listed in the Kuchler Plant Associations, common
associates of sea oats include beach purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum),
goatfoot morning glory (Ipomaea pes-caprae), railroad vine (Ipomaea
stolonifer), sea rocket (Cakile edentula), evening primrose (Oenothera
humifusa), beach spurge (Chamaesyce bombensis), beach sunflower
(Helianthus debilis), seashore-elder (Iva imbricata), beach dropseed
(Sporobolus virginicus), beach berry (Saevola plumieri), and bay cedar
(Suriana maritima) [3,15,23,26].
  • 3. Davis, John H., Jr. 1943. The natural features of southern Florida, especially the vegetation, and the Everglades. Geological Bull. No. 25. Tallahassee, FL: State of Florida, Department of Conservation, Florida Geological Survey. 311 p. [17748]
  • 15. Johnson, Ann F.; Barbour, Michael G. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 430-480. [17394]
  • 23. Stalter, Richard; Odum, William E. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, William H.; Boyce, Stephen G.; Echternacht, Arthur C., eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 117-163. [22010]
  • 25. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 1992. Plant communities of Texas (Series level): February 1992. Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Natural Heritage Program. 38 p. [20509]
  • 26. Tyndall, R. Wayne; Teramura, Alan H.; Mulchi, Charles L.; Dougalss, Larry W. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86. [22110]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES41 Wet grasslands

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K078 Southern cordgrass prairie
K090 Live oak - sea oats

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Depth range based on 8 specimens in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Dispersal

Establishment

Sea oats are generally established using vegetative propagules. Freshly dug bare-root plant divisions can be used effectively. Container grown plant materials have been proven to be more reliable in establishing stands. Propagation methods from plant division to micropropagation techniques are used.

Generally, no site preparation is needed when planting vegetative plant materials. Beach plantings are established by planting propagules on 2 to 5 feet centers. Spacing is dependent on site conditions, erosion potential, and desired outcome of the planting. Sea oats is relatively slow to establish, so planting faster growing companion species, such as, bitter panicum or other desirable pioneering species is recommended.

Generally, container grown plant materials can be planted year around, however, better results are achieved by planting mid-winter to early spring. Bare-root propagules should be planted November through March. Though sea oats are drought tolerant always consider site moisture conditions before planting. Since sea oats growing season varies considerably by geographic location, consult with local professionals when planning sea oats plantings.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Golden Meadow Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Trophic Strategy

Autotrophic.Competitors: May compete with other salt-tolerant coastal species; however, U. paniculata is the dominant species on foredunes and dune crests.Habitats: There is a close association between the occurrence of U. paniculata, and the salt spray zone along coastal beaches. It is primarily found on foredunes and dune crests along the eastern Atlantic coast from Virginia though Florida, but is not common in the swales between dune crests where salt spray effects are lessened (Johnson and Barbour 1990; Stalter and Odum 1993). This species is seldom found inland of the shore zone.
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

U. paniculata seeds provide food for many coastal strand species such as the red-winged blackbird, which is the primary consumer of sea oats seeds. Other species include songbirds, especially sparrows; marsh rabbits, and mice (Johnson et al. 1974; Johnson and Barbour 1990).Other plants associated with sea oats in the beach dune community include beach purslane, also called sea pickle (Sesuvium portulacastrum), railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-capre), beach morning glory (Ipomoea stolonifera), beach sunflower (Helianthus debilis), beach dropseed (Sporobolus virginicus), beach berry (Scaevola plumieri), seashore elder (Iva imbricata), and bay cedar (Suriana maritima).Roots of sea oats also become colonized with beneficial microorganisms such as vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi. These organisms increase the surface area for nutrient absorbtion to plant roots, thus improving nutrition in sea oats communities. The hyphae of these fungi may also help in binding sand grains into aggregates, and aid in stabilizing substrata (Sylvia 1986).
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Population Biology

Sea oats is perhaps the most abundant plant of beach dune communities (Sylvia 1986; Hester and Mendelssohn 1989, 1991; Bachman and Whitwell 1995).Locomotion: Sessile.
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: cover

Recurring fires are common to the maritime strand of the Coastal Plain
of the southeastern United States [20].

Although blowouts, shifting sand, and wandering dunes are characteristic
of strands, these phenomena were much accelerated in the past by grazing
management practices. On some barrier islands sea oats and other dune
grasses were burned off to improve forage. This gave more palatable
forage for a brief part of the growing season, but it also reduced the
total cover and greatly accelerated the inland movement of sand. On
Smith's Island, North Carolina, what was formerly a barren area of
shifting small dunes has developed substantial cover because of reduced
grazing and elimination of fire [20].
  • 20. Oosting, Henry J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262. [10730]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Sea oats culms are probably killed by fire.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: ground residual colonizer, rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, hardwood, succession

Facultative Seral Species

Sea oats is a pioneer species [15]. It spreads locally through
vegetative reproduction; it colonizes new areas primarily through seed
dispersal [11], but sea oats plant parts can also be dispersed by ocean
currents. Of 17 surveyed small islands near Key West, Florida, sea oats
had colonized 14 [15].

Sea oats is also a climax species because of its high tolerance for salt
spray. Succession in the salt spray community is limited primarily by
the intensity of the spray, and does not show the usual climatically
controlled pattern [20]. Sea oats is dominant on ocean-facing primary
dunes even if the dunes are stable because it tolerates more salt spray
than other species. If the shoreline is rising, however, the beach in
front of the primary dunes may accrete and new dunes form in front of
old ones. Then distance from the ocean to the original dunes will
increase, the effect of salt spray will diminish [23], and sea oats may
be replaced by other vegetation [16]. Eventually, succession to a
climax forest of subtropical mixed hardwood may occur [23].

Rather than rising, most of the shoreline of the southeastern United
States is subsiding. On the Gulf coast west of the Mississippi Delta to
Texas, the rate of coastal retreat is 3.3 to 164 feet (1-50 m) per year.
Sea oats can achieve vegetative lateral spread of 2 to 6 feet (0.6-1.8
m) per year, but this is generally not sufficient to keep pace with the
high rate of subsidence. Sea oats is not dominant in this area and is
reduced to a few sparse, scattered populations [11].
  • 11. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Gramineae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7): 1093-1101. [21973]
  • 15. Johnson, Ann F.; Barbour, Michael G. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 430-480. [17394]
  • 16. Johnson, A. Sydney; Hillestad, Hilburn O.; Shanholtzer, Sheryl Fanning; Shanholtzer, G. Frederick. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No 3, NPS 116. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 233 p. [16102]
  • 20. Oosting, Henry J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262. [10730]
  • 23. Stalter, Richard; Odum, William E. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, William H.; Boyce, Stephen G.; Echternacht, Arthur C., eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 117-163. [22010]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: culm

Sea oats sprouts from rhizomes and from perennating buds at the bases of
culms [14]; growth and tillering is stimulated by sand burial [15], and
new shoots and roots arise from the nodes of both rhizomes and aerial
stems [5]. Sea oats also reproduces by seed [10].

Sea oats is wind pollinated. Florets open and close in the early
morning; they open only once. Cross-pollination may be required for sea
oats to produce an appreciable number of seeds. The very small sea oats
populations on the Louisiana coast west of the Mississippi Delta produce
average seed numbers of 0 to 9.53 per culm, depending on the population.
Seeds that are produced have high germination rates [11].

Sea oats shows a trend toward lower seed production with decreasing
latitude. Seeds from Bogue Bank, North Carolina, produced an average of
2.24 seeds per spikelet, which was about 30 percent of pollinated
ovaries; the remaining ovaries aborted. In southern Florida 0.6 seeds
per spikelet were found [11].

Sea oats spikelets are rapidly disseminated by wind, and are usually
soon buried where sand is accreting [6]. Wind, ocean currents, and
animals may disperse seeds to island and mainland beaches [3,15]. In
storms, seeds and plant parts can be carried great distances [20].

The cold treatment required to break seed dormancy decreases southward
along the range of sea oats, and is nonexistent for the south Atlantic
coast Florida populations. Seeds from North Carolina gave optimal
germination when cold-layered moist for 30 days at 40 degrees Fahrenheit
(4.4 deg C) before being given an alternating thermoperiod (conditions
of no light and alternating temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit [18.3
deg C] for 17 hours followed by 95 degrees Fahrenheit [35 deg C] for 7
hours). No cold and/or moist treatment was required for seeds from
Louisiana; room temperature treatment gave highest germination, but
moist cold (40 degrees Fahrenheit [4.4 deg C]) pretreatment gave rates
almost as high. Exposure of seeds to 30 days of dry cold at 40 degrees
Fahrenheit (4.4 deg C) adversely affected germination. Louisiana seeds
collected October 1981 and tested in April 1982 had germination rates of
78.0 to 88.8 percent under the alternating thermoperiod described above
[11].

Seedlings establish during the first growing season and produce
extensive tillers by the second season [16].
  • 6. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
  • 10. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667]
  • 3. Davis, John H., Jr. 1943. The natural features of southern Florida, especially the vegetation, and the Everglades. Geological Bull. No. 25. Tallahassee, FL: State of Florida, Department of Conservation, Florida Geological Survey. 311 p. [17748]
  • 5. Eleuterius, Lionel N. 1989. Planting configurations, propagation methods tested for dune plants (Mississippi). Restoration and Management Notes. 7(1): 41-42. [8062]
  • 11. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Gramineae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7): 1093-1101. [21973]
  • 14. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]
  • 15. Johnson, Ann F.; Barbour, Michael G. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 430-480. [17394]
  • 16. Johnson, A. Sydney; Hillestad, Hilburn O.; Shanholtzer, Sheryl Fanning; Shanholtzer, G. Frederick. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No 3, NPS 116. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 233 p. [16102]
  • 20. Oosting, Henry J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262. [10730]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: geophyte, hemicryptophyte

Hemicryptophyte
Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Fire Ecology

Sea oats reproduces vegetatively [14]. It probably sprouts from
rhizomes after aerial portions are burned.
  • 14. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Sea oats growing season is May 1 to September 4 on Currituck Bank, North
Carolina. The germination period of sea oats seeds there is late May to
the middle of June [26].

Spikelets fall from the plant and disperse in late fall and early winter
[16].

Sea oats flowers and sets fruit (combined) at the following times:

Carolinas June-November [21]
Florida
central spring-fall [29]
panhandle October-November [2]
Texas April-November [18,9]
General range June-September [4]
  • 9. Gould, Frank W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 267 p. [5035]
  • 21. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 2. Clewell, Andre F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press. 605 p. [13124]
  • 4. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 16. Johnson, A. Sydney; Hillestad, Hilburn O.; Shanholtzer, Sheryl Fanning; Shanholtzer, G. Frederick. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No 3, NPS 116. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 233 p. [16102]
  • 18. Lonard, Robert I.; Judd, Frank W. 1989. Phenology of native angiosperms of South Padre Island, Texas. In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7-11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 217-222. [14049]
  • 26. Tyndall, R. Wayne; Teramura, Alan H.; Mulchi, Charles L.; Dougalss, Larry W. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86. [22110]
  • 29. Wunderlin, Richard P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Tampa, FL: University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. 472 p. [13125]

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Reproduction

Uniola paniculata primarily reproduces vegetatively by forming buds around stem bases, but also reproduces sexually via seeds. U. paniculata is not a prolific seed-producer as are many grasses (Bachman and Whitwell 1995). Production of large numbers of seeds probably requires cross pollination (Hester and Mendelssohn 1987). Generally, many spikelets bearing 10-12 florets are produced. However, florets are usually infertile at both the terminal and distal ends (Bachman and Whitwell 1995), leaving only 6 -8 florets to produce seeds. Seed production tends to be lower in low latitudes. In one study, plants in North Carolina, produced an average of 2.24 seeds per spikelet, while those in Florida produced only 0.6 seeds per spikelet (Hester and Mendelssohn 1987). High incidence of fungal invasion of aborted ovules has been observed (Bachman and Whitwell 1995).Pollination is accomplished by winds. Florets open and close during the early morning, and open only once. Seeds in spikelets are rapidly dispersed by winds and quickly bury in accreting sands. Seeds may be carried long distances by winds, storms and ocean currents (Oosting 1954).The growing season of U. paniculata varies by geographic location. In North Carolina, growth occurs from May to September, with seeds germinating from late May through mid-June (Tyndall et al. 1987). In Florida, Uniola paniculata flowers and sets fruit from spring through fall (Wunderlin 1982), while in Texas, flowering and fruiting occurs from April through November (Gould 1978).
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Uniola paniculata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Uniola paniculata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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Status

This species is ranked on the Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species state heritage conservation lists in Louisiana as a S2 - imperiled because of rarity (6 to 20 known extant populations) or because of some factors making if very vulnerable to extirpation, and a

global ranking as a G5 - demonstrably secure globally although it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery (1000 + known extant populations).

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Threats

Pests and potential problems

There are no known serious pests associated with sea oats.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: cover, rhizome

Sea oats is an excellent dune builder and sand binder. It thrives in
areas where dune building is active [23] and contributes to maintenance
of the dune in its position. Sea oats traps windblown sand, forming
mounds of sand which increase as the plant responds with increased
growth [15]. It possesses an extensive root and rhizome system which
produces new growth following sand burial [4].

Sea oats is well adapted to and dominates the most exposed areas of the
dune where soil moisture is low. It tolerates drought, salt spray, and
rapid sand burial. Maximum leaf elongation occurs at 12.8 percent soil
moisture. Stomates close and leaf elongation slows when soil moisture
falls below 8.5 percent. Plants do not wilt until soil moisture falls
below 1.2 percent. Once drought is relieved, sea oats can recover from
very negative water potentials. Excessive soil moisture from a high
water table or inundation has a greater negative effect on sea oats
growth than does low soil moisture. With waterlogging stress due to a
high water table, stomates close and there is reduced biomass
production. Inundation of roots for just a few days results in death of
the plant [12].

Erosion of dunes is accelerated by grazing. When sand on the windward
slope is not anchored by sea oats and other vegetation it is carried
over the top by the wind and deposited on the lee side, resulting in
migrating or "marching" dunes. When overgrazing results in the loss of
dune vegetation and the subsequent loss of the stable dune system, a
wide, flat beachfront may develop. Then extremely high storm induced
tides may inundate the entire beachfront and erode the older,
well-established dune systems protecting the interior, as occurred on
Cumberland Island, Georgia in 1971. Grazing has transformed several of
the banks in North Carolina into barren islands of shifting sand. Dune
damage from grazing has also been reported from South Carolina, Texas,
and several islands along the Georgia coast [16]. Vegetation on North
Padre Island, Texas, is still recovering from cattle grazing from 1850
to 1971, when it was discontinued [1].

Sea oats is adversely affected when the dunes on which it grows are
altered by urban development, by the impact of off-road vehicles on
vegetation cover and compaction of soil, and by pollution of adjacent
waters by treated and untreated sewage, fertilization, and contaminants
from marinas, fish processing plants, and highways [23].

Sea oats was grown under greenhouse conditions in Louisiana dune sand.
Addition of the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
resulted in significantly greater leaf-elongation rates, number of
stems, and aboveground biomass than in controls with no additions.
However, additions of the micronutrients iron, manganese, copper, and
zinc in conjunction with the macronutrients led to reduced leaf
elongation and number of stems compared to controls. Micronutrients
alone had no positive or negative effects [13].

Sea oats seedlings were outplanted to Miami Beach, Florida, beaches to
enhance beach stability. When seedlings were inoculated with
vesicular-arbuscular (VAM) fungi there were increases in seedling growth
over those that were not inoculated. Root colonization by VAM fungi was
higher when the inoculum was already-colonized roots rather than spores
alone [28].
  • 1. Carls, E. Glenn; Lonard, Robert I.; Fenn, Dennis B. 1991. Notes on the vegetation and flora of North Padre Island, Texas. Southwestern Naturalist. 36(1): 121-124. [14888]
  • 4. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 12. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3): 289-296. [21972]
  • 13. Hester, Mark W.; Mendelssohn, Irving A. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on phytosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concen. of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1): 21-29. [14435]
  • 15. Johnson, Ann F.; Barbour, Michael G. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 430-480. [17394]
  • 16. Johnson, A. Sydney; Hillestad, Hilburn O.; Shanholtzer, Sheryl Fanning; Shanholtzer, G. Frederick. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No 3, NPS 116. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 233 p. [16102]
  • 23. Stalter, Richard; Odum, William E. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, William H.; Boyce, Stephen G.; Echternacht, Arthur C., eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 117-163. [22010]
  • 28. Will, M. E.; Sylvia, D. M. 1990. Interaction of rhizosphere bacteria, fertilizer, and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with sea oats. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 56(7): 2073-2079. [22876]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

The USDA NRCS Plant Materials Centers have one released one variety:

Caminada Germplasm sea oats is a pre-varietal release from the Golden Meadow Plant Materials Center, Galliano, Louisiana, selected to provide a plant for dune building, enhancement, and sand stabilization on coastal beaches and barrier islands of the Gulf of Mexico.

Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government”. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Environmental concerns

There are no environmental concerns associated with sea oats. It is highly desirable and beneficial native species.

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Restrict traffic during establishment. Sea oats can be effectively established and grow on low fertility soils without fertilization, however, if fertilization is desired for establishment purposes, apply 3.5-4.5 actual N per and 1.0- 1.5 pounds actual P per 1,000 square feet. Or place a slow release tablet with each plant when planting.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Sea oats was used in experimental dune building and vegetative
stabilization on Timbalier Island, Louisiana, a barrier island which is
sand-deficient. Sand fencing was used to stimulate sand accretion on a
washover terrace breached in 1979 during a storm surge. Fencing and
vegetation planting was begun May 1981, and the site was fertilized in
late September 1981. Sea oats was planted in November 1981, between
already planted bitter panicum (Panicum amarum). Sea oats had a 25
percent survival rate in May 1982, and a 23 percent survival rate by
August 1982. Sand accumulation on the sand-fenced and vegetated areas
was substantial over a 3-year period (1981-1984). Without sand fencing
vegetation did not cause appreciable vertical accretion of sand [19].

Sea oats is used in Florida to enhance beach stability when lost sand is
replaced. Replacement sand is shaped and then planted with sea oats and
other pioneer species to begin the dune-building process [28].
  • 19. Mendelssohn, Irving A.; Hester, Mark W.; Monteferrante, Frank J.; Talbot, Fay. 1991. Experimental dune building and vegetative stabilization in a sand- deficient barrier island setting on the Louisiana coast, USA. Journal of Coastal Research. 7(1): 137-149. [17761]
  • 28. Will, M. E.; Sylvia, D. M. 1990. Interaction of rhizosphere bacteria, fertilizer, and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with sea oats. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 56(7): 2073-2079. [22876]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Cattle graze sea oats [16].

Most sea oats spikelets falling on stable sites (and therefore not
rapidly buried by sand) are eaten by birds and mammals [16].

On the east coast of Florida, the oldfield mouse inhabits barrier island
dunes. It is found in open habitats of sea oats fore dunes and it feeds
on sea oats fruits [15]. On Perdido Key, Florida, ideal habitat for the
endangered Perdido Key beach mouse consists of well-developed dunes
vegetated with sea oats and other dune grasses. The Perdido Key beach
mouse lives in burrows constructed in the dunes. It feeds primarily on
seeds of beach herbs, including sea oats, and insects [7].

Marsh rabbits feed on sea oats in the dune areas of the barrier islands
of Georgia. Songbirds, especially song sparrows and other fringillids,
and red-winged blackbirds are the major consumers of sea oat seeds [16].
  • 7. Fleming, Karen; Holler, N. R. 1988. Endangered beach mice repopulate Florida beaches. In: Highlights of natural resources management 1988. Natural Resources Report NPS-NR-89-01. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 5-6. [12051]
  • 15. Johnson, Ann F.; Barbour, Michael G. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 430-480. [17394]
  • 16. Johnson, A. Sydney; Hillestad, Hilburn O.; Shanholtzer, Sheryl Fanning; Shanholtzer, G. Frederick. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No 3, NPS 116. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 233 p. [16102]

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Nutritional Value

Sea oats has essentially no forage value for livestock [9].
  • 9. Gould, Frank W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 267 p. [5035]

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Habitat structure, Benefit in IRL: Beyond its aesthetic value along coastlines, U. paniculata is a stabilizer of dune systems due to its extensive system of rhizomes which produce lateral growth. It is extensively used from Virginia through Florida to build artificial dunes and to stabilize existing dunes that have been damaged by storms (Bachman and Whitwell 1995).
  • Johnson, A. F. and M. G. Barbour. 1990. Dunes and maritime forests. In: Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. pp. 430-480
  • Amos, W.H. and S.H. Amos. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guides: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, NY. p. 550.
  • Bachman, G.R. and T. Whitwell. 1995. Nursery production of Uniola paniculata(southern sea oats). HortTechnology 5(4):296-298.
  • Clewell, A. F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press. Tallahassee, FL. 605 pp.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.409 pp.
  • Gould, F.W. 1978. Common Texas grasses. Texas A & M University Press. College Station, Tx. 267 pp.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1987. Seed production and germination response of four Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (Graminae). American Journal of Botany. 74(7):1093-1101.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1989. Water relations and growth responses of Uniola paniculata (sea oats) to soil moisture and water-table depth. Oecologia. 78(3):289-296.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1990. Effects of macronutrient and micronutrient additions on photosynthesis, growth parameters, and leaf nutrient concentrations of Uniola paniculata and Panicum amarum. Botanical Gazette. 151(1):21-29.
  • Hester, M. W. and I. A. Mendelssohn. 1991. Expansion patterns and soil physiochemical characterization of three Louisiana populations of Uniola paniculata (sea oats). Journal of Coastal Research 7(2):387-401.
  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. Washington, D.C. 1051 pp.
  • Johnson, A.S., O. Hilburn, S.F. Shanholtzer, and G.F. Shanholtzer. 1974. An ecological survey of the coastal region of Georgia. Scientific Monograph Series No. 3, NPS 116. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington D.C. 233 pp.
  • Oosting, H.A. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20: 226-262.
  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
  • Stalter, R., and W. Odum. 1993. Maritime communities. In: Martin, W.H., S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. pp. 117-163.
  • Sylvia, D.M. 1986. Spatial and temporal distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Uniola paniculata in Florida foredunes. Mycologia 78(5):728-734.
  • Tyndall, R.W., A.H. Termura, C.L. Mulchi, and L.W. Douglas. 1987. Effects of salt spray upon seedling survival, biomass, and distribution on Currituck Bank, North Carolina. Castanea. 52(2): 77-86.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Uses

Sea oats is exceptionally tolerant of harsh conditions associated with coastal beach environments, such as, salt spray, short inundation of saltwater from storm surges, strong winds, xeric soil conditions, and rapid sand accretion. It is considered an excellent pioneering species because its ability to rapidly establish and colonize on fore-dunes and dune crests, and a climax species because of its ability to persist in these extreme coastal beach conditions.

The attributes found in sea oats makes this species and excellent dune builder and sand stabilizer. Sea oats is an excellent conservation plant for dune building, dune enhancement, and sand stabilization on coastal beaches and barrier islands of the Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico.

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Wikipedia

Uniola paniculata

Uniola paniculata, or sea oats, is a species of grass that grows along the East Coast and the Gulf Coast of the United States, Mexico, and on islands in the Caribbean.

Description[edit]

Sea oats are well suited to saline environments, and as such, are important to barrier island ecology and are often used in soil stabilization projects because their long root structure firmly holds loose soil. For example, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a colony of sea oats has been planted at Commercial Beach.[citation needed] The oats are a crucial component of the area's hurricane defense strategy, having staved off storms Arthur through Sally in the 2008 hurricane season. If the sea oat colony survives, the oats and nascent dune structure they support are expected to flourish for the foreseeable future.

Sea oats are a protected grass in most states along the East Coast. Picking or disturbing sea oats is punishable by fine in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina.[1]

Wildlife habitat[edit]

Recently, Floridian ornithologists discovered that the pygmy burrowing owl makes its nest within sea oat colonies to conceal its young from natural predators such as the frigatebirds.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NCGS § 14-129.2". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 


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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The currently accepted scientific name of sea oats is Uniola paniculata
L. [10,14,29]. It is in the family Poaceae. There are no currently
accepted infrataxa.
  • 10. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667]
  • 14. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]
  • 29. Wunderlin, Richard P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Tampa, FL: University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. 472 p. [13125]

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Common Names

sea oats

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