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Coastal: Gulf of Mexico

Earth Day coastal planting at Holly Beach

The Gulf Coast of the United States comprises the coastal states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The lands adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico are made up of marshlands, bays, barrier islands, peninsulas, and are intersected by numerous rivers and streams that enter the gulf. Soils range from mineral sands to heavy organic mucks common to areas adjacent to the Mississippi river delta. The area contains a vast diversity of plant life adapted to freshwater, brackish, and saline marshes and mangrove swamps, as well as terrestrial species that grow on upland sites associated with coastal dunes and barrier islands.

The information below will assist with coastal shoreline reclamation, revegetation, wildlife habitat enhancement, and phytoremediation. An asterisk (*) next to the species name indicates that the plant is known to be tolerant to some level of hydrocarbon pollution and may be useful for phytoremediation efforts. Conservation Plant Releases developed by the Plant Materials Program selected for use in this area have been proven to be adapted over specific zones around the Gulf Coast Region. For plant species that do not have associated conservation plant releases identified, local ecotypes are available from commercial suppliers. Plant Fact Sheets and Plant Guides will assist you with proper plant selection, establishment, and management. Utilize the technical resources towards the bottom of the page to assist with planning your restoration project and locating sources of these plant materials.

PLANTS Database Resources

Plants for Gulf of Mexico Protection & Restoration

The following documents require Acrobat Reader.

Clicking on the scientific name will take you to detailed information in the PLANTS database.
Asterisk (*) indicates those plants tolerant to some level of hydrocarbon pollution.

Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes

Scientific Name Common Name Adaptation National Wetland
Indicator Status
Useful Documents
Distichlis spicata * seashore saltgrass Saline, Brackish, and Tidal Freshwater Marshes FACW+
Seashore saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 258 KB)
Cladium jamaicense sawgrass Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes OBL  
Eleocharis cellulosa gulf coast spikerush Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes OBL Gulf Coast Spikerush Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 217 KB)
Juncus effusus soft rush, common rush Tidal Freshwater Marsh FACW+, OBL Common Rush Plant Guide (PDF; 96 KB)

Sumter Germplasm Soft Rush Release Brochure (PDF; 397 KB)
Juncus roemerianus * black needlerush Saline and Brackish Marshes OBL Black Needlerush Plant Guide (PDF; 69 KB)
Muhlenbergia capillaris hairawn muhly Dune FACU Purple Haze Germplasm Hairawn Muhly Release Brochure (PDF; 303 KB)
Muhlenbergia filipes gulfhairawn muhly Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes FACU Plant Guide for Gulfhairawn Muhly (PDF; 91 KB)
Panicum amarum bitter panicum Dune FACU-, FAC

Planting Guide: Panicum amarum (bitter panicum) (PDF; 81 KB)

Brochure Fourchon Bitter Panicum (Panicum amarum) (PDF; 527 KB)

Panicum hemitomon * maidencane Tidal Freshwater Marsh OBL Release Brochure for 'Halifax' maidencane (PDF; 659 KB)

Maidencane Plant Guide (PDF; 83 KB)
Paspalum vaginatum seashore paspalum Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes OBL, FACW Seashore Paspalum Plant Guide (PDF; 168 KB)
Schizachyrium maritimum gulf bluestem Dune FAC+ Release Brochure - Timbalier Gulf Bluestem (PDF; 1.1 MB)
Schizachyrium littorale coastal bluestem, shore little bluestem, seacoast little bluestem Dune    
Schoenoplectus californicus California bulrush Tidal Freshwater Marsh OBL California Bullrush Plant Guide (PDF; 69 KB)

Bayou Lafourche Germplasm Conservation Plant Release (PDF; 967 KB)
Schoenoplectus robustus saltmarsh bulrush Saline and Brackish Marshes OBL Saltmarsh Bulrush Plant Guide (PDF; 175 KB)
Spartina alterniflora * smooth cordgrass Saline and Brackish Marshes OBL Smooth Cordgrass Plant Guide (PDF; 198 KB)
Spartina patens * marshay cordgrass,  saltmeadow cordgrass Saline and Brackish Marshes FACW Brochure Gulf Coast Marshhay Cordgrass (Spartina patens) (PDF; 282 KB)
Spartina spartinae gulf cordgrass Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes OBL, FACW Plant Fact Sheet: Gulf Cordgrass (PDF; 108 KB)
Sporobolus virginicus  seashore dropseed Saline Marsh FACW+ Seashore Dropseed Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 80 KB)
Uniola paniculata seaoats Dune FACU Seaoats Plant Guide (PDF; 72 KB)



Forbs & Wildflowers

Scientific Name Common Name Adaptation National Wetland Indicator Status Useful Documents
Borrichia frutescens sea oxeye daisy Saline and Brackish Marsh OBL, FACW  
Canavalia rosea beach bean Dune FAC-  
Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea Dune FACU, FACU- Partridge Pea Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 241 KB)
Helianthus debilis beach sunflower Dune FACU, FAC Beach Sunflower Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 273 KB)
Ipomoea imperati beach morning glory Dune FACU, FAC  
Ipomoea pescaprae railroad vine Dune FAC  
Sesuvium portulacastrum sea purslane Saline Marsh and Dune FACW  
Solidago sempervirens seaside goldenrod Saline, Brackish, and Saline Marshes and Dune FACW, FACW-

Release Brochure for Monarch Seaside Goldenrod (PDF; 237 KB)


Trees & Shrubs


Scientific Name Common Name Adaptation National Wetland Indicator Status Useful Documents
Argusia gnaphalodes sea lavender, sea rosemary Dune    
Avicennia germinans black mangrove Saline Marsh and Mangrove Swamp OBL Black Mangrove Plant Guide (PDF; 140 KB)
Baccharis halimifolia eastern baccharis, groundsel tree, saltmyrtle, seamyrtle, silverling Saline and Brackish Marsh, and Tidal Freshwater Marshes FAC, FACW- Eastern Baccharis Plant Guide (PDF; 157 KB)
Celtis laevigata sugarberry, Texas sugarberry, hackberry Saline Marsh, Dune FACW, UPL

Sugarberry Plant Guide (PDF; 148 KB)

Sugarberry for Coastal Wetlands Planting Brochure (PDF; 366 KB)

Chrysobalanus icaco cocoplum Dune FACW  
Chrysobalanus icaco seagrape Dune FAC  
Conocarpus erectus buttonwood Mangrove Swamp FACW+  
Ilex cassine dahoon holly Dune FACW  
Iva frutescens marsh elder, Jesuit's bark Saline and Brackish FACW, FACW+ Marsh Elder, Jesuit's Bark Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 188 KB)
Iva imbricata seashore elder Dune FACW, FACW-  
Laguncularia racemosa white mangrove Mangrove Swamp FACW+  
Lycium caroliniamum salt matrimony vine,  Carolina wolf berry, Christmas berry, and Carolina Desert
Saline Marsh, Dune FACW

Salt Matrimony Vine for Coastal Wetlands Planting Brochure (PDF; 432 KB)

Magnolia grandiflora southern magnolia Tidal Swamp FAC+, FAC-  
Morella cerifera wax myrtle Tidal Freshwater Marsh, Tidal Swamps, and Dunes FAC+, FAC Wax Myrtle Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 45 KB)
Morus rubra red mulberry Saline marsh, Dune FAC, FACU Red Mulberry Plant Guide (PDF; 141 KB)

Red Mulberry for Coastal Wetlands Planting Brochure (PDF; 380 KB)
Nyssa biflora blackgum, swamp tupelo Tidal Freshwater Marsh, Tidal Swamps, and Dunes OBL Swamp Tupelo Plant Fact Sheet (PDF; 52 KB)
Persea palustris swamp bay Tidal Swamp    
Rhizophora mangle red mangrove Mangrove Swamp OBL  
Sabal palmetto cabbage palm Brackish Marsh, Mangrove Swamp, Tidal Swamp, and Dune FAC Cabbage Palmetto Plant Guide (PDF; 100 KB)
Suriana maritima bay cedar Dune FACW+  
Taxodium distichum bald cypress Tidal Swamp OBL Bald Cypress Plant Guide (PDF;71 KB)



Technical Documents

Vendors & Growers