Big Cordgrass Sporobolus cynosuroides (Linnaeus) Peterson & SaarelaCoastal Plain only    Synonyms: Spartina cynosuroides, Spartina polystachya, Tall Cordgrass.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Poales   >   Family Poaceae   >   Genus Sporobolus   

Status:

Big Cordgrass is an important component of the freshwater and brackish marshes of Maryland's Coastal Plain. Big Cordgrass is endemic to the Atlantic Coast of the United States. It grows from coastal Massachusetts, south to Florida, and along the Gulf Coast from Florida to the northeastern Texas coast.

Big Cordgrass is found in less saline habitats than the closely related Smooth Cordgrass and Saltmeadow Cordgrass. Big Cordgrass grows in the upper marsh well above the high tide mark. According to the Digital Atlas of Virginia Flora, "[Big Cordgrass is found in] freshwater to mesohaline tidal marshes; occasionally in tidal swamps and interdune ponds; most characteristic of oligohaline marshes, especially along the margins of tidal rivers and creeks. Common in the estuarine zones of the Coastal Plain."

The genus spartina was recently subsumed into Sporobolus.

Description:

Big Cordgrass is the tallest of the marsh Sporobolus species. Big Cordgrass regularly grows taller than 8'. Big Cordgrass is rhizomatous.

Big Cordgrass is difficult to confuse with other tall wetland grasses except Phragmites. Big Cordgrass and Phragmites often grow together. The panicles of the two species are vastly different. The panicle of Big Cordgrass is sparse compared to the dense feathery appearance of the Phragmites panicle. The leaves of Big Cordgrass also have small teeth along the margins. Phragmites leaves have entire margins.

Relationships:

Host plant for Rare Skipper.

Muskrats use the stems of Big Cordgrass to build their lodges.

There are 215 records in the project database.

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Big Cordgrass in Kent Co., Maryland (10/4/2015). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Baltimore Harbor in Baltimore City, Maryland (10/4/2014). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Wicomico Co., Maryland (12/28/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Dorchester Co., Maryland (12/30/2012). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Talbot Co., Maryland (8/9/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Caroline Co., Maryland (8/2/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in northern Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (1/26/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass along the Patuxent River in Prince George's Co., Maryland (10/24/2013). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Talbot Co., Maryland (11/22/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Caroline Co., Maryland (1/4/2020). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Somerset Co., Maryland (1/2/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Caroline Co., Maryland (1/4/2020). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Big Cordgrass in Wicomico Co., Maryland (9/17/2015). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)


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