Saltmeadow cordgrass is a native 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.
Saltmeadow cordgrass has drooping, wiry, dark green leaves. Leaves 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 (underground portion of a plant’s stem) 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
- Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Life in the Chesapeake Bay by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson
- PLANTS Database: Spartina patens – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Spartina patens – U.S. Forest Service