Plant ID - Obscure very short grass at Santa Monica SMURFF
April 13, 2020 12:56 AM   Subscribe

In 2011 I managed to get a tour of the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility SMURFF (which I can't recommend enough for when we have normal again) and while there saw a bed of what I was told was a true grass (but I think may be a sedge) growing as a monoculture and acting as backup for an osmosis system.

I'm kicking myself now for not taking a macro but we were almost running to keep up with the site guide. The 'grass' was very short and had developed a hummocky form - it looked like it had stolons.

This is such a specific use I'd be surprised if it's a California native, it could be anywhere globally.

The plants were not being mowed. I suspect the hummock form is because the plants are growing upward from a mass of root matter beneath. It could be a Carex but maybe not, there are quite a few stoloniferous Carex though.
posted by unearthed to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My guess is Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon). It is stoloniferous, tolerant of salinity, and lives in warm places like Santa Monica. I've seen it take a hummocky form in New Mexico. Its hard to ID for sure without a closeup photo though. Also, tons of Bermuda grass cultivars have been developed and I have no idea which one this could be.
posted by Eriogonum at 7:39 AM on April 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Possibly Zoysia tenuifolia

Better image
posted by sciencegeek at 11:12 AM on April 13, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks Eriogonum, I'm pretty sure you're correct - I found some great images of Bermuda/Cynodon at Kansas State extension and the leaf branch angle is much tighter than with Zoysia.

A lot of people seem to be researching Zoysia in stormwater/wastewater/osmosis treatment trains for tropical areas which was unknown to me so thanks sciencegeek.
posted by unearthed at 4:47 PM on April 13, 2020

Possibly the tour and operations managers at the SMURRF are answering email?
posted by clew at 4:50 PM on April 13, 2020

After the last zombie apocalypse/nuclear winter, there will be cockroaches...and bermuda grass. Or as I like to call it, Satan's Pubes.
posted by SinAesthetic at 5:06 PM on April 13, 2020

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