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Prairie Cordgrass
Spartina pectinata

Hardy, coarse, densely colonial, native, perennial grass 5-7' tall. Prairie cord grass is an excellent soil stabilizer of shores, stream banks, slopes, buffers and vegetated swales due to the large rhizomatous mass it creates. It is well suited to restore wetlands, marshes, wet meadows and wet prairies as well as shorelines. It is an aggressive plant that may be desirable to compete with non-native and invasive species or to revegetate a site quickly to prevent erosion.

USDA symbol: SPPE

General Information

Plant TypeGrass
Height6 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun
Soil MoistureMedium
Bloom ColorWhite, Purple, Green, Brown
Prairie Cordgrass (Prairie Cordgrass<div><em class="small">Spartina pectinata</em></div>)
Photo credit: United States Department of Agriculture (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceHigh
General Resilience9
Salt ToleranceLow
Stress ToleranceFire Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Low

Bloom MonthsAugust to October
Larval Host ofMoths
Specific Pollinators HostedAethes spartinana, Photedes enervata, Photedes inops, Resapamea stipata

Project Planning

Project TypeBoulevard, Erosion Control, Restoration, Sandy or Engineered Soils, Shoreline Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism4
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadMedium
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Benton, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands