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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,
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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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