Spartina alterniflora

smooth cordgrass
Light Requirements
Soil Moisture
Soil Description
rich, average, loam, clay, sand
Hardiness Zone
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Additional Tags
attracts birds, bog plant, colonizing, fall interest, mat-forming, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, salt tolerant, salt-spray tolerant, swamp plant, wetland plant
Spartina alterniflora is a tall, robust salt water marsh grass. Plants commonly grow to 7', sometimes taller. Foliage is deep green with silvery undersides giving it a characteristic sheen when blowing in the sunlight. Flowers appear on 4" to 12" spikes in summer. This grass will form large colonies parallel to the shoreline, the depth of which will vary according to the shoreline's profile.
Spartina alterniflora is the dominant grass species found in coastal wetlands and along tidal shorelines of the eastern US. It thrives in mucky soil in full sun. Exposure to salt water is not a requirement for this species, but it will help produce healthier and longer living colonies. Smooth cordgrass spreads rapidly by rhizomatous roots. These are an important food source for waterfowl and muskrats. This sturdy cordgrass is ideal for wetland restoration and erosion prevention. Its dense vegetation traps nutrients and sediments, reclaiming land lost to erosion. Zones 4-10
Additional Notes
Spartina alterniflora is an important species to the ecology of the coastal areas of the eastern US, it is however considered an invasive species in other areas of the world where it has been introduced. This includes the States of California, Washington, and Oregon where it is classified as a noxious, invasive weed and has become a threat to local ecosystems. This species should not be planted outside its native range. For additional weed information, please consult the USDA website.
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Delmarva Native Plants , MD

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