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

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

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

Panicum hemitomon * maidencane Tidal Freshwater Marsh OBL Release Brochure for 'Halifax' maidencane (PDF; 659 KB) MSPMC
Paspalum vaginatum seashore paspalum Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes OBL, FACW  
Schizachyrium maritimum gulf bluestem Dune FAC+ Release Brochure - Timbalier Gulf Bluestem (PDF; 1.1 MB) LAPMC
Schizachyrium littorale coastal bluestem, shore little bluestem, seacoast little bluestem Dune    
Schoenoplectus californicus California bulrush Tidal Freshwater Marsh OBL Bayou Lafourche Germplasm Conservation Plant Release (PDF; 967 KB) LAPMC
Schoenoplectus robustus saltmarsh bulrush Saline and Brackish Marshes OBL  
Spartina alterniflora * smooth cordgrass Saline and Brackish Marshes OBL Smooth Cordgrass Plant Guide (PDF; 198 KB) LAPMC
Spartina patens * marshay cordgrass,  saltmeadow cordgrass Saline and Brackish Marshes FACW Brochure Gulf Coast Marshhay Cordgrass (Spartina patens) (PDF; 282 KB) LAPMC
Spartina spartinae gulf cordgrass Brackish and Tidal Freshwater Marshes OBL, FACW Plant Fact Sheet: Gulf Cordgrass (PDF; 108 KB) STPMC
Sporobolus virginicus  seashore dropseed Saline Marsh FACW+  
Uniola paniculata seaoats Dune FACU  



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-  
Helianthus debilis beach sunflower Dune FACU, FAC  
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) NJPMC


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) LAPMC
Baccharis halimifolia eastern baccharis, groundsel tree, saltmyrtle, seamyrtle, silverling Saline and Brackish Marsh, and Tidal Freshwater Marshes FAC, FACW-  
Celtis laevigata sugarberry, Texas sugarberry, hackberry Saline Marsh, Dune FACW, UPL

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

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+  
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) LAPMC

Magnolia grandiflora southern magnolia Tidal Swamp FAC+, FAC-  
Morella cerifera wax myrtle Tidal Freshwater Marsh, Tidal Swamps, and Dunes FAC+, FAC  
Morus rubra red mulberry Saline marsh, Dune FAC, FACU Red Mulberry for Coastal Wetlands Planting Brochure (PDF; 380 KB) LAPMC
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  
Suriana maritima bay cedar Dune FACW+  
Taxodium distichum bald cypress Tidal Swamp OBL  



Technical Documents

Vendors & Growers