Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), or Zacate salado in Spanish, is found in brackish salt marshes and intertidal wetlands. It provides nesting grounds for birds, fish, and larvae of marine invertebrates. Useful in saline and alkaline wetlands, the thick grass and root systems guard between the ocean and shore protecting the land from pollutants and contaminants from rainwater runoff.
Early Native Americans used Saltgrass as a seasoning. They extracted salt from the plant by threshing the grass blades and collecting the grey-green crystals resulting in a salty taste similar to a dill pickle.
To see more photos of Saltgrass, visit the San Diego Natural History Museum’s San Diego County Plant Atlas.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Lavin