Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Saltmarsh Cordgrass - Spartina alterniflora   Loiseleur
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Spartina with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain, Outer Banks, and barrier islands.

Maritime, Newf. to FL and TX; eastern S.A.
AbundanceFairly common to abundant. Populations usually occur by themselves, without other plants; may occupy tens of acres.
HabitatSalt to brackish mud of the main channels of tidal creeks, tidal flats, and estuaries. One of our most salt-tolerant plants, inundated twice daily -- a "salt marsh" is literally a stand of this plant!
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationSaltmarsh Cordgrass usually occurs by itself in the most saline microhabitats. Plants grow from tough horizontal rhizomes and produce flowering stems usually 2-4 feet tall. The inflorescence is terminal, about a foot long, with appressed branches, and often the lower part stays within the leaf sheath. In fresh flower, the anthers are white and attract attention. This is one of the most often seen of coastal plants.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)Smooth Cordgrass, Saltwater Cordgrass
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorrieSame place, dominant in inlet intertidal zone. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. SorrieSC, Huntington Beach SP, Sept 2012.

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