Prairie Cordgrass

Prairie_Cordgrass_jpgSpartine is the Greek word for cord and refers to the stout stem of the plants in this genus (Spartina). The leaf blade is very coarse, with pointed teeth along the margins.   When it is rubbed, it can cut the skin.  The common name “ripgut” refers to this characteristic. This plant occurs in both fresh and salt water wetlands.  Native Americans and early pioneers used it for roof thatching and for fuel. Prairie Cordgrass has poor forage value when mature but can be eaten by livestock in early growth stages.Since it is fast growing and produces dense stands, Prairie Cordgrass can be used to prevent erosion along waterways and marshes.

OtherCommonName:

Fresh-water Cordgrass, Slough Cordgrass, Ripgut

ScientificName:

Spartina pectinata

Community:

Freshwater Wetlands

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

up to 10 feet

FruitingTime:

Late July to October

Distribution:

Throughout the United States. Throughout coastal strip and up large rivers in New Jersey. Found in fresh to brackish water and in tidal marshes

FloweringTime:

Mid July to October

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Inflorescence 8 to 13 inches long ~ Numerous spiklets 3.5 inches long on very short stalks ~ Inflorescence is unsymmetrical ~ Leaves very narrow, taper to point, rough on margins ~ Each stem is topped with a cluster of up to 32 side branches with each side branch 1-6 inches long ~ Rhizomes hard and brown to purple