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Spartina pectinata is a species of cordgrass known by the common names prairie cordgrass, freshwater cordgrass, tall marshgrass, and sloughgrass. It is native to much of North America, including central and eastern Canada and most of the contiguous United States except for the southwestern and southeastern regions. Its distribution extends into Mexico. It is also present on other continents as an introduced species.
This grass has hard, sturdy, hollow stems that may reach 3 meters in height. They grow from a network of woody rhizomes and tough roots that form a sod. The roots penetrate over 3 meters deep into the soil. The leaves have sharp, serrated edges. The panicle may be up to 50 centimeters long and may have many branches. Each spikelet is up to 2.5 centimeters in length. This grass can spread via its rhizome, producing large monotypic stands.
This plant can grow in a variety of habitat types, but it is a facultative wetland species, most often found in wet habitats. These include fens, wet prairies, rivers, floodplains, ponds, moraines, and marshes. The grass is tolerant of water, but it does not tolerate prolonged flooding. Its dense root network stabilizes soil, even in areas where it would be eroded by flowing water.
- Walkup, C. J. 1991. Spartina pectinata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
- Spartina pectinata. Grass Manual Treatment.
- Spartina pectinata. Washington Burke Museum.
- Spartina pectinata. USDA NRCS Plant Fact Sheet.
- Goudarzi, S. Prairie Cordgrass for Ethanol Production. AIP Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy 21 November 2011.
- USDA Plants Profile
- Photo gallery
- Spartina pectinata Photos, drawings, description from Nature Manitoba
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