Scientific name Atriplex portulacoidesPuccinellia maritima saltmarsh
Common name Sea-purslane – Common Saltmarsh-grass saltmarsh
Community code SM2B

 

SM2B: Atriplex portulacoides – Puccinellia maritima saltmarsh  SM2B: Atriplex portulacoides – Puccinellia maritima saltmarsh  SM2B map: Atriplex portulacoides – Puccinellia maritima saltmarsh

Download full pdf synopsis: SM2B

 

Vegetation

This is a distinctive saltmarsh community as it is dominated by knee-high, shrubby expanses of Atriplex portulacoides. Puccinellia maritima and Aster tripolium are also constant species and if there are patches between the Atriplex the former can be abundant. Frequently found in these patches are Limonium humile, Spergularia media and Plantago maritima, while Suaeda maritima, Spartina agg., Triglochin maritimum, Salicornia agg. and Armeria maritima are occasional. Limonium binervosum agg. can be plentiful locally on sandy shingle banks. There can be an extensive algal mat but generally few macroalgae. Bostrychia scorpioides is often found growing epiphytically on the woody stems of the Atriplex.

 

Ecology

This is a lower marsh community often found on top of the marsh cliff or next to creeks.  It can occur on sand or shingle and is fairly frequently inundated. Atriplex portulacoides is sensitive to grazing which may explain the limited occurrence of this community along the west coast. Conditions are base-rich.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities have been described for this community.

 

Similar communities

This is a distinctive community that should be easily identified. In no other community does Atriplex portulacoides achieve such abundance.

 

Conservation value

Almost all examples of this vegetation qualify as EU HD Annex I habitat 1330 Atlantic salt meadows.  It is typically a species-poor community, but the species that do occur are specialists.

 

Management

The main threats to this saltmarsh community are probably grazing by livestock and invasion by Spartina agg. It is usually absent or scarce where sheep or cattle grazing occur. Sea-level rises as a result of climate change could potentially have an impact, particularly in areas susceptible to coastal squeeze.