San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[BRCC San Diego Natural History Museum: Research Library]
Plants that Attract Butterflies, A Gallery of Paintings by Albert Valentien

Painting of Distichlis spicata, by Albert Valentien

Distichlis spicata (Saltgrass)
Painted by Albert Valentien
© San Diego Natural History Museum

Distichlis spicata

Distichlis spicata, or Saltgrass, is a common, widespread species that grows on beaches, along estuary margins, and at edges of desert palm oases; it is tolerant of salty and alkali conditions. This perennial grass has strong rhizomes and a distinctive, alternating herringbone leaf pattern. Salt grasses like this one have special glands to excrete excess salts, as well as other physiological adaptations to this extreme environment. It is in the grass family or Poaceae. The Wandering Skipper butterfly uses only this particular species as its host plant.

Introduction to Valentien Collection
Gallery of Plants
Monarca: A Gallery of Butterfly Plants

Text by Margaret Dykens