How to safely eat sea arrowgrass

What we are looking at here is a plant called Sea Arrowgrass (Triglochin maritima).

It’s common names are coriander grass or wild coriander, because it actually tastes just like coriander.

The bits that we are looking for are the very young flower shoots coming through with the flower buds.

The bits that we are looking for are the very young flower shoots coming through with the flower buds.

Then as we go to the base what we have are the very long leaves. But the bits we need to be eating are the pale bits down at the base of the plant.

As soon as we start moving up the plant into the dark green parts of the leaves the plant starts developing hydrocyanic acid which basically means its cyanide which interferes with the oxygen uptake in your body.

So when someone has cyanide poisoning you need to keep them hyperventilated and on oxygen. That’s how you counteract the cyanide poisoning.

Don’t let that scare you off!

It’s the pale white/green ends of the Sea Arrowgrass leaves that we find at the base going into the earth that are edible. About 2 inches in length.

When you crush those base tips, they smell distinctly of coriander. Once the leaves become dark green, that’s where the hydrocyanic acid starts developing.

You can also eat the seeds of Sea Arrowgrass. Traditionally the Native Americans would either dry or roast them, then grind them into a flour.

The whole seeds are delicious and taste like coriander pops bursting in your mouth.

Sea Arrowgrass is an absolutely extraordinary plant!


  1. Robin…thank U for sharing your valuable knowledge. Wouldn’t it be “lov-er-ly” if we were all taught these things in school? But then….how would all the big food chains…make all their dollars?!

    Take care.

  2. Thanks for the informative video clip of the Sea Arrow Grass Triglochin maritima.
    I don’t know if it grows along the east coast of Australia but I will keep an eye open.
    I like the detailed explanation of what is, and what is not edible..

  3. Just FTR:
    as a botanist with some experience in foraging, I would not recommend to forage this species.

    If you do: don’t use flowering stalks; don’t forage during dry spells or in areas which did not undergo inundation regularly. (NB: Moisture stress is defined by a lack of water.)
    Generally, do not eat in larger quantities!

    copy-paste, link follows:
    “Two cyanogenic glycosides, triglochinin and taxiphillin, have been found in seaside arrow-grass. The cyanogenic levels in leaves are substantially elevated during periods of severe moisture stress. Newly initiated spikes (flowering stalks) yielded high levels of glycosides. Spikes therefore pose a potential threat if they are selectively grazed. A cyanogenic glycoside content of 50 mg/100 g of green seaside arrow-grass is considered lethal, even if only 0.5% of body weight is ingested (Majak et al. 1980, Cooper and Johnson 1984).”

    Link: Triglochin maritima (General poisoning notes)

    Sidenote: while still common in the UK and Ireland, the species is on several red lists across Europe. It is in an important ecosystem engineer of estuaries and salt marsh wetlands. It also occurs arther away from the coast, but is increasingly rare there.

  4. I was just about to cook this with some lamb having tasted it whilst on the Severn estuary. Thanks to modern technology I looked this up on the walk back. Thank you very much. I’ll stick to sea beet in future. Simon

  5. Just discovered this whilst harvesting some sea plantain in north Sutherland. The green seed’s burst of coriander flavour is amazing. More subtle in the base of the leaf, but will definitely be returning to.

    I wonder if the seeds can be dried and used like coriander.

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