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Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata L.)

Also known as seaoats.

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A tall grass common in coastal sand dunes along the southeastern U.S., into Mexico and the Caribbean. A critically important component of the duune ecosystems in much of its range.

Range - Expand

Native or Not Present
Introduced or Not Present
Native or Introduced

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Sand dunes and beaches; range entirely restricted to coastal areas. Often grows in exposed sandy areas where it is the only species or one of a few. Tolerates heat, drought, high salt levels, and exposed conditions, but requires well-drained coarse sands, and is absent from poorly-drained areas and substrates with finer silt or clay.

Nowadays, most authorities consider this the only species of its genus in North America, although others are found in South America.

Numerous other related plants have been broken out into other genera, including Chasmanthium, Distichlis, and others. Of these, saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) has a wide distribution, mostly overlapping with this one along coastal areas. Chasmanthium laxum also overlaps in range somewhat, in coastal areas, whereas Chasmanthium latifolium has a more inland distribution.

Seaoats | Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) (About This Site)

Uniola paniculata (Seaoats) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Sea Oats | iNaturalist (About This Site)

Uniola paniculata | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Uniola paniculata | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Uniola paniculata | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Seaoats | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)