Saltmeadow Cordgrass

Spartina patens

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Grows in dense colonies 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.

  • Range

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

  • Status

    Stable

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

Saltmeadow cordgrass has drooping, wiry, dark green leaves that grow 6 to 12 inches in length. The leaves are shiny on top and rough on the bottom. Spikes of tiny, overlapping florets bloom in June to October. The rhizomes are long and slender. Saltmeadow cordgrass grows 1 to 4 feet tall.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Saltmeadow cordgrass usually reproduces asexually when its long, underground rhizomes spread and form new stems. It also produces seeds sparsely.

Did You Know?

  • Saltmeadow cordgrass is also known as saltmeadow hay.
  • Its stems are easily bent and blown over by the wind, giving the grass its distinctive whorled, “cowlick” appearance.

Sources and Additional Information

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Grows in dense colonies 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.

  • Range

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

  • Status

    Stable