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Swallenia alexandrae.jpeg
Swallenia alexandrae
Eureka Valley dune grass

Critically Imperiled (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Genus: Swallenia
Soderstr. & H.F.Decker
Species: S. alexandrae
Binomial name
Swallenia alexandrae
(Swallen) Söderstr. & Decker

Swallenia is a rare genus of plants in the grass family, found only in Death Valley National Park, California.[1][2]

The only known species is Swallenia alexandrae, known by the common names Eureka dunegrass[3] and Eureka Valley dune grass. This genus was named for American botanist Jason Richard Swallen (1903-1991).


This is a rare plant endemic to Inyo County, California, where it is found on a single isolated dune system, the Eureka Valley Sand Dunes in the Eureka Valley of the Mojave Desert, within Death Valley National Park.[4][5]


Swallenia alexandrae is a coarse, tufted perennial grass which grows in sand from thick rhizomes. Its stiffly erect clums, sharp-leafed grass, and erect pale-colored panicle inflorescences are diagnostic.[6]

Endangered status[edit]

This is a federally listed endangered species of the United States, and an IUCN listed Critically endangered species.[7] The main threat to the species survival has been off-roading, which is no longer permitted in its habitat. Trespassing off-roaders and campers are still a threat to the five remaining occurrences.[8]


External links[edit]