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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.

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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