Uniola paniculata

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Sea oats
Uniola paniculata (plume).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Uniola
Species: U. paniculata

Uniola paniculata, or sea oats, is a species of grass that grows along the East Coast and the Gulf Coast of the United States, Mexico, and on islands in the Caribbean.


Sea oats are well suited to saline environments, and as such, are important to barrier island ecology and are often used in soil stabilization projects because their long root structure firmly holds loose soil. For example, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a colony of sea oats has been planted at Commercial Beach.[citation needed] The oats are a crucial component of the area's hurricane defense strategy, having staved off storms Arthur through Sally in the 2008 hurricane season. If the sea oat colony survives, the oats and nascent dune structure they support are expected to flourish for the foreseeable future.

Sea oats are a protected grass in most states along the East Coast. Picking or disturbing sea oats is punishable by fine in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.[1][2]

Wildlife habitat[edit]

Recently, Floridian ornithologists discovered that the pygmy burrowing owl makes its nest within sea oat colonies to conceal its young from natural predators such as the frigatebirds.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "NCGS § 14-129.2". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "SC Code § 16-11-590 (2013)". Retrieved 27 September 2014.