Identify Sea Arrowgrass

Sea Arrowgrass (Triglochin maritima)

How to Identify Sea Arrowgrass

Edible

Botanical Name
Triglochin maritima


Known Hazards

The more green parts of the leaves store hydrocyanic acid which is practically cyanide, which can interfere with oxygen intake within the body, this is typically present during and after a draught. These amounts are typically very low in the UK due to the climate. However as a precaution we don’t eat the green parts of this leaf.

Could be confused with

Sea Plantain (Plantago maritima) which doesn’t smell or taste like coriander or Marsh Arrowgrass (Triglochin palustris) which can be used in the same way as sea arrow grass.


Range and Distribution

Southern Arctic, Europe and North Africa, West to Northern Asia and North America.


Habitat

Salt Marshes, estuaries and grasslands close to the sea


Physical Characteristics

This perennial is most often overlooked as a type of grass

The leaves, from 10-30cm tall and 2-5mm wide, are stalkless, erect and semi-cylindrical becoming larger or more bulbous and lighter in colour towards its base.

The Flowers and seeds grow on a single stem up to 40cm tall, in balls or egg-shaped growths directly from the stem from 2-6mm.

The whole plants grow in clumps up to 30cm in diameter. On crushing the seeds and base of the leaves give off an amazing coriander like aroma.


Edible Use

Root/ base of the leaf: Use the white parts of the leaf-like you would coriander.

Fruit/seeds: Use the seeds where you want a crunch or pop of coriander. Dry the seeds and use as a coriander like flavouring. Roast into fragrant coffee.

Tips and Observations

The easiest way to identify this plant from all of the sea plantain it inevitably grows with is to firstly look for the seeding shoots of sea arrow grass. Work down to the base of the seeds and check the surrounding clump of leaves – they will more than likely be arrow grass so crush one and smell. Not a massive issue if you mistake them for Sea Plantain as this is also edible but just doesn’t taste like coriander.

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