Prairie Cordgrass

Prairie Cordgrass
Prairie Cordgrass
 Iralee Barnard

Prairie Cordgrass
Spartina pectinata


Family Grass
Longevity Perennial
Height 4 - 8 feet

Bloom Period

March April May June July August September October
  • Description: Erect stems arise from tough, 1/8-inch thick spreading rhizomes that bind the soil. Leaf blades are flat and rough along the edges. Flower and seed heads have several 1-4 inch-long branches arranged alternately in two rows parallel to the central spike.
  • Comments: In saturated soils, cordgrass grows in nearly pure stands. Because it forms dense colonies of tall vegetation, it is an important source of protective cover and nesting habitat for many wetland birds and other wildlife. Cordgrass prairie once covered thousands of acres along river lowlands and was cut for hay. Most cordgrass meadows have been plowed to grow annual crops. Prairie Cordgrass was used as roof thatch for Indian lodges and pioneer sod homes. It grows statewide in wet, clay soil.

Prairie Cordgrass seedhead
 Mike Haddock

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The Meadow
Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason