Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of John Seyjaget.

Saltmarsh cordgrass

Scientific name
Spartina alterniflora
Also Known As
Smooth cordgrass
Plant Family
Plant Group
A warm season, perennial grass, 3-5 ft tall, found primarily in saltmarshes and intertidal wetlands.
Identification Hints

Saltmarsh cordgrass is a warm season, perennial grass that grows 3-5 ft in height. As with other grasses, the stems are hollow and round. The leaves grow about 12 - 24 inches in length. They are about 1/2 in wide at the base but become very narrow and bend downward at the tips. The flowers generally bloom in the summer and appear just on one side of the stalk, as do the seeds that form later in the fall. The flowering spike can include 12 - 15 spikelets and produce around 175,000 seeds.

Did You Know?

Saltmarsh cordgrass is native to the Atlantic Coast. The roots of this grass are an important food source for snow geese and the seeds are used by various waterfowl species. It is often planted for erosion control. This same grass has invasive tendencies and is considered an invasive species on the Pacific Coast. It frequently hybridizes with other Spartina species, which also tend to be invasive.