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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Chloridoideae
Tribus: Cynodonteae
Subtribus: Scleropogoninae
Genus: Swallenia
Species: S. alexandrae

Swallenia Soderstr. & H.F.Decker, Madroño 17: 88 (1963) nom. nov.
monotypic taxon


Ectosperma Swallen, J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 40: 19 (1950), non Vaucher (1803)


Soderstrom, T.R. & Decker, H.F. (1963) Madroño 17(3): 88.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2013. Swallenia in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 13. Reference page.
Simon, B.K., Clayton, W.D., Harman, K.T., Vorontsova, M., Brake, I., Healy, D. & Alfonso, Y. 2013. GrassWorld, Swallenia. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 13. 2013. Swallenia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 13.
International Plant Names Index. 2013. Swallenia. Published online. Accessed: 13 Nov. 2013.

Vernacular names
English: Dunegrass

Swallenia is a rare genus of plants in the grass family, found only in Death Valley National Park, California.[2][3]

The only known species is Swallenia alexandrae, known by the common names Eureka dunegrass[4] and Eureka Valley dune grass. This genus was named for American botanist Jason Richard Swallen (1903-1991). The species was named for American philanthropist and paleontological collector Annie Montague Alexander.[5]


This is a rare plant endemic to Inyo County, California, where it is found on a single isolated dune system, the Eureka Valley Sand Dunes in the Eureka Valley of the Mojave Desert, within Death Valley National Park.[6][7]

Swallenia alexandrae is a coarse, tufted perennial grass which grows in sand from thick rhizomes. Its stiffly erect clums, sharp-leafed grass, and erect pale-colored panicle inflorescences are diagnostic.[8]
Endangered status

This is a federally listed threatened species of the United States.[9] The main threat to the species survival has been off-roading, which is no longer permitted in its habitat. Trespassing off-roaders and campers are still a threat to the five remaining occurrences.[1]

The Nature Conservancy
Soderstrom, Thomas Robert & Decker, Henry Fleming. 1963. Madroño 17(3): 88
Swallen, Jason Richard. 1950. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 40(1): 19-21 descriptions in parallel English + Latin, discussion in English, photo of herbarium specimen
"ECOS: Species Profile". Retrieved 2020-12-18.
Bonta, Marcia, 1940- (1991). Women in the field : America's pioneering women naturalists (1st ed.). College Station: Texas A & M University Press. pp. 49–60. ISBN 0-89096-467-X. OCLC 22623848.
Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution map
University of British Columbia Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, Botany Photo of the Day, Swallenia alexandrae, By Daniel Mosquin on December 7, 2007
Jepson Manual Treatment
Plant Conservation Report

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