Sea oats are the most important and widespread grass on southern coastal dunes. Sea oats get their name from the large plumes produced during summer which resemble oats grown for food. This tough perrenial grows to a height of 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) and may be recognized by its oat-like flowers or panicles. The seed heads mature in autumn. They are compressed spikelets borne at the end of stiff stems 1 meter (3 feet) long or more. Its pale green leaves are long and narrow, measuring less than 1/5 centimeters (0.5 inches) in width.