Saltmeadow Cordgrass Sporobolus pumilus (Roth) Peterson & SaarelaCoastal Plain only    Synonyms: Spartina patens, Spartina patens var. caespitosa, Spartina patens var. monogyna.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Poales   >   Family Poaceae   >   Genus Sporobolus   


Saltmeadow Cordgrass is a common plant of brackish salt marshes of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's Coastal Bays. Saltmeadow Cordgrass grows along the Atlantic Coast from the Maritime Provinces of Canada to Florida. It grows along the Gulf Coast from Florida to the Texas Coast, south into Mexico. Saltmeadow Cordgrass has become naturalized along the San Fransisco Bay and along estuaries in Oregon and Washington. Along the west coast Saltmeadow Cordgrass is considered non-native and highly invasive.

The genus Spartina was recently subsumed into Sporobolus.


Saltmeadow Cordgrass grows above the high tide mark with other marsh graminoids like Black Needlerush and Seashore Saltgrass.

Saltmeadow Cordgrass is the smallest (typically around 2' - 2.5' tall) of Maryland's three salt marsh sporobolus species. Saltmeadow Cordgrass is rhizomatous and usually grows in thick mats. The stems are weak and plants are often pushed down from the wind and rain, resulting in a whorled wispy appearance.

Where to find:

Saltmeadow Cordgrass can be found in all of Maryland's salt marshes. Elliott Island Road, Deal Island WMA, and Assateague island are good places to see Saltmeadow Cordgrass.


The critically endangered (S1 ranked Maryland Breeding Species) Black Rail relies on habitat dominated by Saltmeadow Cordgrass to breed.

According to the USDA, Saltmeadow Cordgrass is an important lodge building material for Muskrats.

There are 207 records in the project database.

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Saltmeadow Cordgrass in Dorchester Co., Maryland (7/4/2016). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Saltmeadow Cordgrass in Talbot Co., Maryland (8/22/2016). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Saltmarsh Cordgrass in Somerset Co., Maryland (8/29/2013). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Saltmeadow Cordgrass on Assateague Island, Maryland (1/19/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Saltmeadow Cordgrass in Calvert Co., Maryland (10/20/2013). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Saltmeadow Cordgrass in Calvert Co., Maryland (3/29/2017). Photo by Tyler Bell. (MBP list)

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