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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 16, 2013

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Seed and Plant Sources, Water Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Source for Saltmarsh cordgrass from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I work for a consulting firm and we are looking to do more of our wetland creation/restoration. Do you know where one can purchased Spartina alterniflora?

ANSWER:

According to our webpage on  Spartina alterniflora (Saltmarsh cordgrass) it is indeed useful for wetlands restoration. The webpage also says that it is mostly used in the northeast, but this USDA Plant Profile Map shows that it grows natively in the Harris County area. This previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer recommends it as a wetlands grass, but that question was from New York City.

This article from the National Wildlife Refuge Association has this comment:

"Although Spartina alterniflora is valuable in its native range, when it is introduced into the mudflats and salt marshes of West Coast ecosystems it becomes invasive and damages the native habitat. These West Coast ecosystems do not have the same insects found in the plant’s native range, which feed on the plant and control its spread."

If it were classified as a noxious, invasive weed in some parts of the country, you might have some difficulty obtaining seeds. Possibly some local grower in your area could be persuaded to let you gather seed.

If not, go to our National Suppliers Directory, put your town name and state or just your zipcode in the "Enter Location Box" and click on GO. This will get you a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and consultants in your general area. All should have contact information so you can find out if they have available what you are looking for.

 

From the Image Gallery


Saltmarsh cordgrass
Spartina alterniflora

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