This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This is a common maritime grass, found in the N. Temperate Zone in Europe, N. Africa, and N. America. It is found in every maritime county in Great Britain, except S. Lines, Westmorland, Kirkcudbright, Linlithgow, S. Perth, N. Perth; but there is some doubt as to what was meant by the name in early days, so that it is uncertain if all the older stations are correct. It is thus found from the Orkneys to Devon and Kent, and in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
The Rushy Wheat Grass is a characteristic shore or sand plant, which helps to form a regular botanical association with Lyme and Marram Grass, all of which grow on sandy shores and cover a wide area, extending from high-water level to some distance inland.
The stems are bluish-green, prostrate below, with creeping roots, then ascending, smooth, with thick leaves, with the margin rolled inwards, hairy on the ribs below, with smooth sheaths, and a short ligule.
The panicle is a loose, stout, curved spike, with 4-5 flowered spikelets, with glumes with 9 nerves, and without awns. The rachis of the panicle is smooth, fragile, separating above each spikelet. The spikelets are distant, glossy, pale, thick, the flowering glumes are slightly nerved, the empty glumes strongly so, and blunt.
The plant is 1 ft. to 18 in. high. It is in flower in July and August. The plant is perennial, propagated by soboles or underground creeping shoots.
The floral symmetry resembles that of Darnel, and both are anemophilous in their mode of pollination, the stigma maturing before the anthers.
The fruit is light, and adhering to the palea, which has keels fringed with hairs, and it is easily dispersed by the wind.
This grass is a halophyte or salt-lover living in a saline soil, and also a sand plant living in sand soil.
It is attacked by a Smut, Ustilago hypodytes.
Agropyron, Gaertner, or Agropyrum, is from agros, field, and puros, wheat, and the second Latin name refers to the rush-like or jointed stem. This plant is called Bent, Bentles.
The name Bentles is given to low, sandy, flattish land on the seashore of Suffolk, where nothing but this coarse grass grows. It is useful in binding the sand together and preventing erosion. It is from this group, formerly included in Triticum, that the wheats are derived.
Photo. Messrs. Flatters & Garnett - Rushy Wheat Grass (Agropyron junceum, Beauv.)
Essential Specific Characters: 343. Agropyron junceum, Beauv. - Root creeping, stem glabrous, prostrate, leaves involute, ribbed, hairy, rachis tender, awnless glumes ribbed, outer palea blunt.