Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Saltmarsh Cordgrass - Spartina alterniflora   Loiseleur
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
AuthorLoiseleur
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
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