Scientific name Festuca rubra – Plantago maritima saltmarsh
Common name Red Fescue – Sea Plantain saltmarsh
Community code SM4D


SM4D: Festuca rubra – Plantago maritima saltmarsh  SM4D: Festuca rubra – Plantago maritima saltmarsh  SM4D map: Festuca rubra – Plantago maritima saltmarsh

Download full pdf synopsis: SM4D



Festuca rubra is the overwhelming dominant in this community, usually forming a rank sward. Plantago maritima is the only other constant, occurring as tufts amongst the grass. Glaux maritima, Aster tripolium and Triglochin maritimum are frequently found here, but do not offer much in the way of cover. Cochlearia officinalis, Agrostis stolonifera, Atriplex prostrata and Armeria maritima are occasional plants.



This is an upper marsh community that is infrequently inundated. Conditions are base-rich.



No sub-communities have been described for this community.


Similar communities

From the other communities of group SM4, this community may be distinguished by the clear dominance of Festuca rubra. Maritime swards of GL3F Festuca rubra – Lotus corniculatus grassland can be similar in the dominance of Festuca and presence of Plantago maritima, but they lack other saltmarsh indicators such as Glaux maritima, Aster tripolium and Triglochin maritimum, as they usually occur on cliff tops.


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 it does contain some specialist species.



The main threat to this saltmarsh community is probably grazing by livestock. Sea-level rises as a result of climate change could potentially have an impact, particularly in areas susceptible to coastal squeeze.