• Spartina alterniflora - Smooth Cordgrass

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    Description:

    "Smooth cordgrass is a large, coarse, warm-season grass, which is
    physiologically adapted to the salt marsh habitat [26,27].  Plants
    growing under good conditions reach 8 feet (2.5 m) tall, while those
    growing in the high salt marshes, especially at edges of salt pans, may
    be only 16 inches (40 cm) tall, including the inflorescence [6].  A
    dense stand of this tall grass is like a small forest of dark green
    plants.  Almost no light gets through to the mud beneath the stand.
    Tidal currents are strong where the best growth occurs and wash away
    dead leaves, leaving stands clean and free of debris most of the year
    [26].

    Habitat:

    "Smooth cordgrass forms dense, monospecific stands in salt and brackish
    marshes with mid to high tide levels [6,27,30].  It dominates where
    salinities range from 3 to 5 percent and the average water table is 4
    inches (10.2 cm) above ground level.  Plants may be inundated with salt
    water for up to 20 hours per day.  Unlike most other marsh plants, the
    salt-tolerance of cordgrass is directly proportional to water depth [1].
    Smooth cordgrass thrives in anoxic, low marsh habitats due to its
    ability to oxygenate its roots and rhizosphere.  Rhizosphere oxidation is
    not evident in seedlings and small colonizing patches.  Both of these
    groups are stunted in anoxic low marsh substrates.  This suggests that
    success of smooth cordgrass in anoxic habitats is size dependent and may
    be driven by group benefits of rhizosphere oxidation [5]." (Walkup, USDA)




    "Spartina alterniflora on Jerusalem salt marsh Rhode Island" (Mary Gillham Archive Project)




    Botany:

    Spartina Alterniflora Botany  - USDA species information

    Botanical illustration of Spartina alterniflora. (Hitchcock et. el)


    Works Cited

    Cover

    1. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=455326
    2. Spartina alterniflora in the salt marsh, Sapelo Island, Georgia, USA Photograph taken by Graham D. Schuster, 29 May 2005




    Introduction

    Botany


    Information and images compiled by Erik N. Vegeto

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