Zostera marina

Common name: Eel Grass Family: Zosteraceae
Author: L. Botanical references: 17
Known Hazards: None known
Range: Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to the Mediterranean.
Habitat: Fine gravel, sand or mud in the sea from low water spring tides down to depths of 4 metres. It is rarely found in estuaries.
Edibility Rating (1-5): 2 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 1
Other Common Names: From various places around the Web, may not be correct. See below.
Groot Zeegras , Seawrack ,
Epithets: From a Dictionary of Botanical Epithets
marina = near sea;
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Najadales. Eel-grass family
Other Range Info: From the Ethnobotany Database

Physical Characteristics

Perennial growing to 1m. . It is in flower from June to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Water. We rate it 2/5 for edibility and 1/5 for medicinal use.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It can grow in water.

Habitats and Possible Locations


Edible Uses

Leaves; Root; Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked

. The leaf bases are crisp and sweet, they were often used as a feast food by the native North American Indians. Seed. No more details are given. The root of the plant is chewed for its saccharine juice. The root is crisp and sweet, it was used as a flavouring by the native North American Indians and was also dried for winter food. The raw rhizomes were often used as a feast food.

Medicinal Uses

Women’s complaints.

The leaves are used in the treatment of dropsy, goitre and women’s illnesses


Other Uses

Compost; Packing.

The dried leaves and stems are used as a packing material

. The plant is frequently used as a manure.

Cultivation details

A plant of shallow sea water, it is not really suitable for normal cultivation.


Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe. Division.