Spartina pectinata Link - Prairie Cord Grass


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Spartina pectinata - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Poaceae


Common in wet prairies, less often in mesic prairies. Also marshes, shores.


In wet prairies with Aster novae-angliae, Calamagrostis canadensis, Cicuta maculata, Helianthus grosseserratus, Iris virginica shrevei, Liatris spicata, Lycopus americanus, Lysimachia quadriflora, Lythrum alatum, Phlox glaberrima interior, Pycnanthemum virginianum, Veronicastrum virginicum, Zizia aurea.


Newfoundland and Quebec west to Alberta and WA, south to NC and TX.


Perennial grass, to 2 m high, from long coarse rhizomes. Leaves narrow, to 30-80 cm long and 0.5-1.0 cm wide, involute when dry, cuttingly scabrous on the margins, tapering to a long slender point. Inflorescence to 40 cm long; spikes 7-27, 5-12 cm long, on short peduncles, ascending or appressed, the rachis not surpassing the uppermost spikelets; spikelets crowded, closely imbricate; first glume as long as the lemma or nearly so; second glume lanceolate, the rough midnerve prolonged into an awn 3-10 mm long; floret single, awnless. The spikelets fall entire.


Flowers early July to late August

Wetland indicator: Facultative Wetland +

The spikes look almost white during anthesis. Some members of this genus are common salt marsh grasses.


Clark, G. Lynn and Richard W. Pohl. 1996. Agnes Chase's First Book of Grasses:
The Structure of Grasses Explained for Beginners. Fourth ed.
Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington and London


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Knobel, Edward. 1980. Field Guide to the Grasses, Sedges and Rushes of the United States. 2nd Ed.
Dover Publications, Inc. New York NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005