In The Garden: Smooth cordgrass is habitat building species
Also known as Spartina alterniflora, smooth cordgrass is a perennial deciduous grass found in intertidal wetland of estuarine salt marshes. It is fine textured with wiry leaves that form a fountain spray pattern. The surface of the grass is dark green with the lower surfaces light green in color. The saltwater-loving species of grass can be seen growing throughout Florida as a native species. The plant grows from 3 feet to 7 feet in height and may submerge during high tide.
It is a habitat building species with the ability to create land masses for oysters, mollusks and other species to latch on to. This in turn brings in the redfish, and other important fish species Florida is widely known for. The species of native grass is also very important in the stabilization of sand dunes and levees found on barrier islands and beaches. The sand dunes in turn provide habitat for nesting birds that need that protection from human and natural interference. The periwinkle snail is another native species to South Florida that relies on the habit created by spartina cordgrass to escape their predators.
The species of ornamental grass creates a unique texture and grouping patterns to the Florida garden. It grows in large clumps and is often used as a specimen species or border plant. It works very well along edges of ponds and water features. Due to its native range being Florida, it has a high tolerance to full light, high salt tolerance and has a medium tolerance to moisture.
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