1 to 4 feet tall
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
Found near the shores of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay and its tidal creeks and rivers.
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