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Saltmarsh cordgrass, Smooth cordgrass
Spartina alterniflora var. glabra

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

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.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

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.

References: Nelson 2003

Comments: Imperiled and sporadic in South Florida, perhaps due to widespread modifications to coastal hydrology

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Spartina alterniflora var. glabra available from:

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