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The Elymus farctus community comprises generally open, though often locally dense, vegetation in stretches of wind-blown sand, in which the dominant is the perennial grass long familiar as Agropyron junceiforme, but now known as Elymus farctus ssp. boreali-atlanticus. It is a rhizomatous plant, growing in the early stages after colonisation as small rosettes of shoots, often appressed to the surface, but then spreading outwards by means of its long and wiry underground stems and putting up vertical sympodial branches which by repeated tillering can keep pace with rapid though quite modest accumulation of sand (Nicholson 1952).
Populations of E. farctus in the strandline appear to be dependent on repeated colonization by seed and rhizome fragments from the foredunes. Only rarely do conditions suitable for the initiation of a new dune ridge from the strandline population occur.