Sea Oats-The Iconic Plant of Coastal Dunes

Published 1:27 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata) is the iconic plant of coastal dunes from Virginia to East Texas. Depictions of the attractive seed head adorn many post cards, books, paintings, and photos of the Southeast Coast. Sea oats commonly occurs on Pea Island and Currituck National Wildlife Refuges. Its true value to the environment is in its tolerance to dry and infertile conditions on deep sand dunes. Sea Oats is a good long term stabilizer of those areas. It is not a quick stabilizer so it must be planted with a fast-growing plant, such as American beach grass or bitter panic grass, on erosion control projects. While the seed heads are attractive, they don’t contain much actual seed. It takes many bushels of seed heads to yield enough seed to grow plants for large dune plantings.