Smooth Cordgrass
(Spartina alterniflora)

Description:
Smooth cordgrass has hollow stems that support long leaves of up to 2 feet long. These leaves are half an inch wide at the base, and taper down to a fine tip. This perennial grass yields yellow flowers, which only develop on one side of the stalk, turning brown at the onset of winter.

Geography:
Smooth cordgrass is located in coastal wetlands and marshes throughout the deciduous zone. While this specie can thrive in areas of the high marsh where tidal inundation is less frequent, often outcompeted by other grasses in these areas. As such, smooth cordgrass is one of the dominant grasses found in the low marsh with higher levels of tidal interaction.

Ecosystem Services:
The roots of this perennial grass are an important food source for Snow Geese and other waterfowl. Beyond providing a feed base to waterfowl, smooth cordgrass plays a large role in wetland formation, generating new habitat for a broad range of additional species. Operating at the edge of the marsh and the sea, smooth cordgrass traps sediment, and creates a niche for many reef building shellfish like mussels.

Fun Fact:
Smooth cordgrass has rhizoidial roots that enable asexual growth allowing for resilient abundance in the dynamic marsh and wetland habitat.