Spartina maritima

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  (Redirected from Small cord-grass)
Spartina maritima
Plantón de Spartina maritima.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Spartina
Species: S. maritima
Binomial name
Spartina maritima
(Curtis) Fernald

Spartina maritima, the small cordgrass,[1] is a species of cordgrass native to the coasts of western and southern Europe and western Africa, from the Netherlands west across southern England to southern Ireland, and south along the Atlantic coast to Morocco and also on the Mediterranean Sea coasts. There is also a disjunct population on the Atlantic coasts of Namibia and South Africa.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing 20-70 cm tall, green in spring and summer, and turning light brown in autumn and winter. The leaves are slender, 10-40 cm long, and 0.5-1 cm broad at the base, tapering to a point. It produces flowers and seeds on all sides of the stalk. The flowers are greenish, turning brown by the winter.

Hybridisation and decline

When the related American species Spartina alterniflora (Smooth Cordgrass) was introduced to southern England in about 1870, it hybridised with S. maritima to give the hybrid Spartina × townsendii. This then gave rise to a new allotetraploid species Spartina anglica (Common Cordgrass), which is much more vigorous, and has now largely ousted S. maritima from much of its native range in western Europe.

References

  1. ^ "Spartina maritima". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  • UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee: Spartina
  • English Nature: Spartina summary
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