Ammophila arenaria

Marram, the grass which binds
the young sand dunes
its strong roots
sometimes twenty feet long
creep through shifting sand

its sea-green leaves
slowing down the wind
a glossy grass
protects the coastline
engineer of the ecosystem

planted for this purpose
it creates vast areas
as the dunes become fixed
and as other plants colonise
marram gives way to them

photograph: Barrier 4, Burray, Orkney, April