Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Spartina patens (Saltmeadow cordgrass)
Reveal, James L.

Spartina patens

Spartina patens (Aiton) Muhl.

Saltmeadow Cordgrass, Salt-meadow Cordgrass, Marsh-hay Cordgrass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Spartina patens var. juncea, Spartina patens var. monogyna

USDA Symbol: sppa

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), VI (N), CAN (N)

Saltmeadow Cordgrass is a member of the grass family (family Poaceae). Grasses are herbs, rarely woody, with cylindrical, jointed flowering stems (culms), hollow between the joints, leaves often mostly basal and tiny flowers aggregated into highly modified clusters. This very important family, consisting of about 525 genera and 5000 species, provides much of the food used by humans, as well as fodder for livestock. Grasses occur throughout the world in almost every habitat, with the greatest diversity of species found in the tropical zone, and the greatest abundance in the temperate regions.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AL , CA , CT , DE , FL , GA , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OR , PA , RI , SC , TX , VA , WA
Canada: NB , NL , NS , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Coastal areas from Que. to TX; infrequently inland in saline marshes of e. U.S.
Native Habitat: Saline marshes & sandy meadows near the coast

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Wet, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Tolerates salt spray. Often used for beach front stabilization. If grown in a freshwater environment, S. patens will grow much bigger.


Attracts: Birds


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.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Spartina patens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Spartina patens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Spartina patens


Record Modified: 2019-12-20
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back