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Spartina alterniflora

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Plant types and subtypes: Grasses, Wetland Grasses

Light Requirements: sun

Water Use: high

Soil Moisture: wet

Soil Description: rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 4'-7'

Leaf Color: green, silver

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 (smooth cordgrass)
  • Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)
  • Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)
  • Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)
  • Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Spartina alterniflora

Also known as:

smooth cordgrass

,

saltmarsh cordgrass

,

oystergrass

,

saltwater cordgrass

,

Atlantic cordgrass

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

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.

Cultivation

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

Propagation

Spartina alterniflora spreads by mat-forming rhizomes that can easily be divided. Easily propagated from seed.

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.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, RI, SC, TX, VA

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Commelinidae
Order Cyperales
Family Poaceae Grass family
Genus Spartina cordgrass
Species Spartina alterniflora smooth cordgrass