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Saltmeadow Cordgrass

Spartina patens

Saltmeadow cordgrass stems are easily bent and blown over by the wind, giving the grass its distinctive whorled,
Saltmeadow cordgrass stems are easily bent and blown over by the wind, giving the grass its distinctive whorled, "cowlick" appearance. (Sandy Richard/Flickr)

Saltmeadow cordgrass is a native perennial grass with wiry leaves that often form a whorled pattern. It grows in high, irregularly flooded areas of salt and brackish marshes along the Chesapeake Bay.

Appearance:

  • Drooping, wiry, dark green leaves that grow 6-12 inches long
  • Leaves are shiny on top and rough on the bottom
  • Spikes of tiny, overlapping florets bloom in June-October
  • Long, slender rhizomes
  • Grows 1-4 feet tall

Habitat:

  • Grows in high parts of salt and brackish tidal marshes
  • Very common in parts of the marsh that are irregularly flooded by tides
  • Also found on beaches, dunes and tidal flats
  • Forms dense colonies

Range:

  • Found near the shores of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay and its tidal creeks and rivers

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Usually reproduces asexually when its long, underground rhizomes spread and form new stems
  • Produces seeds sparsely

Other Facts:

  • Also known as saltmeadow hay
  • Stems are easily bent and blown over by the wind, giving the grass its distinctive whorled, “cowlick” appearance

Sources and Additional Information:




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