Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Gulf cordgrass is a stout, native, perennial grass that grows in dense clumps. It has a non-rhizomatous base, although occasionally it can be sub-rhizomatous towards the outer edges of the clump. Also called sacahuista, the tips of this grass’s leaf blades are sharp and spine-like. It flowers in spring, summer, and rarely in the fall. It is moderately saline tolerant (0-18 ppt.), and does well in mesic areas. It can even grow in soils that are occasionally submerged, but are above sea level most of the time.

The genus name comes from the Greek word “spartine’, meaning cord from spartes or Spartium junceum. The genus name probably was given because the leaf blades are tough, like cords; hence, the common name cordgrass.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Alternative names

sacahuista, Vilfa spartinae Trin.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Distribution and adaptation

Gulf cordgrass grows along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, and South into Eastern Mexico. More rarely, gulf cordgrass grows inland in marshes, swamps, and moist prairies. It can also be found along the Caribbean coasts, and inland in Argentina and Paraguay.

In Texas, it can be found along the gulf coast on coastal flats and around brackish marshes. It is occasionally found in inland marshes and salt flats in the Post Oak Savannah, Rio Grande Plains, and Edwards Plateau Regions. Gulf cordgrass grows mostly on clayey soils, but at the Plant Material Center, we have had success growing it on sandier soils as well. Physical and chemical soil properties do not seem to influence the occurrence of gulf cordgrass, but elevation in relation to inundation is a key factor.

For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Perennials, Aquatic, leaves emergent, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stolons or runners present, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, 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, 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 and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades scabrous, rou ghened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, 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.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type Information

Syntype for Spartina pittieri Hack.
Catalog Number: US 878769
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. Pittier
Locality: Atlantic., Limón, Costa Rica, Central America
  • Syntype: Hackel, E. 1902. Oesterr. Bot. Z. 52: 237.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type fragment for Spartina pittieri Hack.
Catalog Number: US 3412973
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. Pittier
Locality: Atlantic., Limón, Costa Rica, Central America
  • Type fragment: Hackel, E. 1902. Oesterr. Bot. Z. 52: 237.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Syntype for Spartina pittieri Hack.
Catalog Number: US 878769
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. F. Pittier
Locality: Atlantic., Limón, Costa Rica, Central America
  • Syntype: Hackel, E. 1902. Oesterr. Bot. Z. 52: 237.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type fragment for Spartina pittieri Hack.
Catalog Number: US 3412973
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. F. Pittier
Locality: Atlantic., Limón, Costa Rica, Central America
  • Type fragment: Hackel, E. 1902. Oesterr. Bot. Z. 52: 237.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type fragment for Spartina gouini E. Fourn.
Catalog Number: US 92015
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): F. M. G. Gouin
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Veracruz, Mexico, North America
  • Type fragment: Fournier, E. P. 1886. Mexic. Pl. 2: 135.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type fragment for Spartina densiflora var. obtusa Hack.
Catalog Number: US 92017
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Hassler
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Gran Chaco, Loma Clavel., Paraguay, South America
  • Type fragment: Hackel, E. 1909. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 6: 345.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 8 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.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dispersal

Establishment

Gulf cordgrass is best reproduced vegetatively for coastal shoreline projects by dividing large clumps into several smaller ones. The success rate at the Plant Materials Center has been 75-80%. Use of a rooting hormone is recommended, but is not a necessity. We recommend placing containers (we use trays of 1”x 1”x 6” or 2”x 2”x 6” paper bands or cone-tainers) with new cuttings in a trough with water about 1” up from the bottom of the containers, so that soil stays wet from the bottom up.

After about four to six weeks, remove the containers from the water bath and begin to harden plants off prior to planting. The potted cuttings can be transplanted six to eight weeks after they are started. Plants can be maintained in the greenhouse longer if necessary, and older plants can be resplit to start new ones. Larger vegetative clumps can be transplanted to new sites successfully.

Restoration of coastal sites by seeding may also be successful. Currently the Kika de la Garza PMC is evaluating the seed potential of gulf cordgrass. Two accessions have had over 30% seed germination over two successive years. Seed yeild has averaged 330 pounds per acre, with approximately 454,000 seeds per pound.

In 1997-98, Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center staff used gulf cordgrass transplants in a coastal shoreline stabilization project that they worked on in partnership with the San Patricio (Texas) Soil and Water Conservation District. Gulf cordgrass had a 97% survival rate, and was found to be best adapted

to planting sites 2 feet above the mean tide level.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Gulf cordgrass should be burned periodically to increase forage palatability and wildlife utilization. Once burned, it should be grazed continuously to maintain tender regrowth.

Gulf cordgrass requires little management otherwise. It appears to be fairly drought tolerant and does not require irrigation except when establishing new transplants. Any weeds can easily be removed when processing plants.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Erosion: Gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae) is a good plant for coastal restoration projects. Its large dense clumps cause it to catch and hold soil, which is beneficial in shoreline stabilization.

Wildlife: Gulf cordgrass can provide good bird nesting habitat and wildlife cover for wetland margin species. Geese and sandhill cranes are among the species that make use of gulf cordgrass stands. Mottled ducks are also known to nest in dense clumps.

Forage: Gulf cordgrass can also be a good source of cattle and geese forage when managed properly. Domestic livestock do not eat unburned gulf cordgrass, but will graze it heavily following a prescribed burn. The new, young shoots are tender, but older mature plants are too tough even for horses.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Spartina spartinae

Spartina spartinae is a species of grass known by the common names gulf cordgrass and sacahuista. It is native to the Americas, where it occurs from the Gulf Coast of the United States south to Argentina.[1]

This species forms dense clumps of sharp-tipped leaves.[2] The stems may grow up to 2 meters tall. The inflorescence is a cylindrical panicle up to 70 centimeters long. It has many branches each a few centimeters long which grow pressed to the stem. They contain spikelets each up to a centimeter in length.[1]

This grass grows in moist to wet habitat and it can live in saline environments. Habitat types include marshes and wet prairies.[2] It can sometimes be found inland alongside Pinus palustris.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Spartina spartinae. Grass Manual Treatment.
  2. ^ a b Spartina spartinae. USDA NRCS Plant Fact Sheet.
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!