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Bolin, Kathryn E.
Spartina pectinata Bosc ex Link
Prairie cordgrass, Freshwater cordgrass, Sloughgrass
Poaceae (Grass Family)
Synonym(s): Spartina michauxiana, Spartina pectinata var. suttiei
USDA Symbol: SPPE
Freshwater cord grass or prairie cord grass is a very rigid, upright perennial, 5-6 ft. tall, with tough leaves. Coarse, ascending spikelets of tan-colored seedheads are arranged spirally in two’s on the upper part of the stem and are the main virtue of this grass. Fall color is an attractive yellow. A tall grass, with stiff, widely spaces flowering branches, the entire flower culater reaching well above the leaves.
This is one of our tallest grasses and is probably the species that gave rise to Midwestern settlers’ accounts of grass higher than a horse’s back. Prairie Cordgrass is one of the dominants of the tallgrass prairie, growing mainly in low, wet areas. The species name derives from the Greek word pecten (“comb”), referring to the appearance of the plants flowering branches. Also known as Sloughgrass.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun
, WY Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
Nf. & Que to e. WA
s. to NC, TN, LA, TX
& NM Native Habitat:
Fresh water & coastal marshes; prairie swales
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet to moist, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Prairie cordgrass spreads rapidly by rhizomes, and is best suited to large areas. It can become invasive.
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or division.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
When to plant grasses on Long Island, NY
December 06, 2009
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants;
Are there any grass seeds that I can plant NOW, early December, on Long Island, NY? The planting environment is on and near a sandy bluff on a bayshore, where it can be windy ...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2010-11-02
Research By: TWC Staff