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Sea Arrowgrass

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Sea Arrowgrass Triglochin maritima


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Sea Arrowgrass is not a grass – it is the wrong botanical order, though still a monocotyledonous plant. It is found in maritime grassland around most of Britain, and all but indistinguishable from the true grasses with which it grows. However, when it is in flower it is a little more conspicuous because of its plantain-like flower spike. When the close flower-head opens it appears to be simply a mass of yellowy green, but close inspection will reveal tiny yellow flowers surrounded by hairy leaf-like structures.

It strict preference for maritime grasslands limits it occurrence to parts of central southern, East Anglian, Welsh and Scottish coasts.

There is not a great deal than can be done with this plant, but it is interesting because of its smell when crushed and its flavour – it tastes strongly of coriander. Indeed it is sometimes known as coriander grass, though true coriander is from the Carrot family.

Most of the plant is toxic, producing cyanide, and it has caused problems when stock is grazed on maritime pasture. There is little or no cyanide in the fleshy, white section just above the root and it is this part which is collected for the kitchen. A little of this, chopped in a salad, will do your hedge-cred a great deal of good. Do cut this species only where there are plenty to choose from and collect just a few.

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