Smooth cordgrass

Spartina alterniflora

Family Poaceae - emergent vegetation

Emergent vegetation, grass; found in the intertidal zone; leaves wider than other Spartina, about 4-15 mm (1/4 to 1/5 in) wide; leaves alternating throughout main stem; only one stem per root; inflorescence (flower part) one single long spike (panicle) made of many smaller spikelet's at top of main stem; tip of root very sharp, pointed.
Similar Species
Of the 3 cordgrasses, the smooth cordgrass is the only one found in the intertidal zone. The smooth and gulf cordgrasses have a single spike for its inflorescence, whereas the marshhay cordgrass has 3-5 spikes set off at a 45° from the stem. The leaves of the smooth cordgrass are usually open and flat except in extremely dry conditions. The leaves of the marshhay and gulf cordgrasses are usually rolled inward. Also the leaves of the gulf cordgrasses are stiff and very pointy.
Saltwater to brackish marshes in intertidal zone
Maximum Size
120 cm (4 ft)
Other Common Names
saltmarsh cordgrass, oystergrass
Previous Scientific Names




Untitled Document