smooth cordgrass USDA PLANTS Symbol: SPAL
U.S. Nativity: Native
Habit: Grass or Grasslike
Spartina alterniflora Loisel.

Jump to: Resources | Images | Distribution Maps | Sources
Taxonomic Rank: Liliopsida: Cyperales: Poaceae
Synonym(s): Atlantic cordgrass, saltmarsh cordgrass
Native Range: Newfoundland to lower St. Lawrence R., Que, s. to NJ; Locally naturalized in w Europe ( Fernald 1950)

Appearance
Spartina alterniflora is a perennial grass that expands via underground rhizomes. It is native to the eastern United States, but is considered invasive, in salt marshes, in California. Hollow stems grow from 2-4 ft. (0.6-1.2 m) tall.
Foliage
Leaves are 8-20 in. (20-50 cm) long, 1-8 in. (2.5-20 cm) wide and are often purplish at the base.
Flowers
Flowering occurs in July to November, when densely packed clusters of tan flowers develop.
Fruit
The fruit are flattened and smooth, with pointed tips. The plant also expands via underground rhizomes.
Ecological Threat
Spartina alterniflora was introduced on the west coast in the early 1970s to be used as erosion control. Plants have become extremely invasive in San Francisco Bay, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Infestation;
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Infestation;
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Infestation;
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Stem(s); collar and sheath.
Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.


Invasive Listing Sources:
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
National  Wildlife Refuge Association, Silent Invasion: A Call to Action from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, 2002. Washington DC. 17 pp.
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998