Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Grass Family (Poaceae). Big cordgrass is a warm season, robust, rhizomatous perennial. The height ranges from 3 to 10 feet. The leaf blade is flat and 1/2 to 1 inch wide; often 18 to 24 inches long; rough and sharp margin. The leaf sheath is rounded. The ligule has short membrane and densely hairy. The stem is thick, round and often 3/4 inch in diameter at base. The seedhead has 20 to 40 spikes, each about 3 inches long, and spikelets about 1/2 inch long growing on one side of rachis with the seedhead growing 12 to 18 inches long.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

Salt reedgrass

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Spartina cynosuroides var. polystachya (Michx.) Beal:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Spartina cynosuroides (L.) Roth:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)
Caribbean (Caribbean)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Perennials, Aquatic, leaves emergent, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome elongate, creeping, stems distant, Stolons or runners present, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems solitary, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems swollen at base, tuberous, cormous or bulbous, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes solid or spongy, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy at summit, throat, or collar, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence a panicle with narrowly racemose or spicate branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, Rachis angular, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating below the glumes, Spikelets secund, in rows on one side of rachis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes keeled or winged, Glume surface hairy, villous or pilose, Glumes 1 nerved, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma body or surface hairy, Lemma apex truncate, rounded, or obtuse, Lemma awnless, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea longer than lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 4 specimens in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1.5 - 1.5
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Dispersal

Establishment

Major growth is from late March through September or October. Seedheads form during fall. The base of the plant remains green through the winter. It reproduces from robust rhizomes, which form dense colonies. This plant is primarily adapted to mineral soils in salt marshes. It tolerates moderate salinity and water levels that fluctuate from 4 inches below soil surface to 2 inches above. It is closely associated with marsh-hay cordgrass (Spartina patens) and common reed (Phragmites australis).

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Please contact your local NRCS Field Office.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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For best production and plant vigor, graze big cordgrass during fall and winter and defer grazing during summer.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Cattle graze big cordgrass. Ducks and geese eat the tender shoots that grow after marshes are burned in early fall.

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Wikipedia

Spartina cynosuroides

Spartina cynosuroides is a species of grass known by the common names big cordgrass and salt reedgrass. It is native to the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States, where it grows in coastal habitat such as marshes, lagoons, and bays.[1]

This species is a rhizomatous perennial grass which can grow up to 10 feet tall. The leaves are up to 24 inches long and up to an inch wide. The ligule is hairy. The stem can be ¾ of an inch in diameter at the base. The inflorescence contains up to 40 spikes each up to 3 inches long.[2]

This grass grows in flooded saline soils such as those in salt marshes. It is associated with marsh-hay cordgrass (Spartina patens) and common reed (Phragmites australis).[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spartina cynosuroides. Grass Manual Treatment.
  2. ^ a b Spartina cynosuroides. USDA NRCS Plant Fact Sheet.
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