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Saltmarsh cordgrass, Smooth cordgrass
Spartina alterniflora var. glabra
Poaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Utilized as a water and substrate stabilizer in tidal swamp restorations in South Florida. Natural populations are very rare.
Availability:
Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Description:
Medium herbaceous grass.
Dimensions:
Emergent 1-2 feet above the water. Spreading from underground stems (rhizomes) and forming patches much broader than tall.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Widespread along the eastern coastline of North American west to Texas and south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland; northeastern coast of South America. Very rare in South Florida. Perhaps never naturally present or natural populations extirpated in Broward County; now cultivated there. Reported in error for the Monroe County Keys.
Habitats:
Coastal marshes.
Soils:
Wet, inundated brackish or saline soils.
Nutritional Requirements:
High; requires rich organic soils for optimal growth.
Salt Water Tolerance:
High; tolerates flooding by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Brownish inflorescence.
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous.
Flowering Season:
Summer-fall.
Fruit:
Inconspicuous caryopsis.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Larval host plant for Aaron's skipper (Poanes aaroni).
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from division, and by seed with difficulty.
Comments:
Imperiled and sporadic in South Florida, perhaps due to widespread modifications to coastal hydrology


 


Susan Trammell
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton