Herb: Lyme Grass

Latin name: Leymus arenarius

Synonyms: Elymus arenarius

Family: Gramineae (Grass Family)

Edible parts of Lyme Grass:

Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a flour and used to make bread. A delicious taste but very fiddly to use, the seed is small and hard to extract. When cooked like rice, it can be used as a sweet or savoury dish. Mixed 50/50 with wheat flour it adds a richness to biscuits etc. The protein content of this grain is said to rival that of red beans or salmon. (This report seems somewhat surprising, protein levels are not usually anywhere near that high in a cereal.)

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Dunes by the coast, often in association with Ammophila arenaria.

Other uses of Lyme Grass:

The leaves are used for making mats, rope, paper etc. The plants have a very extensive root system and so they are often planted near the coast in order to stabilize sand dunes. They can also be used as a ground cover for sandy open spaces but can be invasive.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow mid spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. If the supply of seed is limited, it can also be sown in mid spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in summer Division in spring or summer. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of Lyme Grass:

Dunes by the coast, often in association with Ammophila arenaria.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Leymus arenarius:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.