Information on Common Cord-grass

Common Name: Common Cord-grass
Scientific Name: Spartina anglica
Irish Name: Spartíneach ghallda
Family Group: Poaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Cord-grass is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This is one of our unwelcome alien plants, found on saltmarshes and mudflats, on intertidal areas where it spreads widely.  Up close it's an extremely pretty sight through a hand-lens with tiny feathery pale yellow flowers in 30cm long spikes.  They bloom from July to September, the plant growing to about 1.5m high.  The leaves are light green, very tough and narrow.  It is a fast-growing non-native plant, a member of the family Poaceae.    

I recorded this plant growing at Saltmills, Co Wexford in 2006 and photographed it at that time. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Cord-grass, Common
Cord-grass, Common

Believed to have been the result of the introduction (in ships' ballast water) during the nineteenth century of smooth cord-grass Spartina alterniflora into the British Isles from North America.  This hybridised with the native Small Cord-grass Spartina maritima one of the results being Common Cord-grass Spartina anglica.  Initially planted to stabilise coastlines, the rapid colonisation of Spartina anglica over extensive flats in sites with large wintering populations of waders and wildfowl is a major concern because of the birds' loss of habitat for feeding and roosting (Davidson et al. 1991).*

*Joint Nature Conservation Committee.   click here : http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-1680