Spartina patens

Spartina patens_salt meadow cordgrass_ JM Di Tomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Spartina versicolor (Spain)

Common names: Salt marsh hay

Spartina patens (saltmeadow cordgrass) is a perennial grass (family Poaceae) whose current known distribution in California is limited to one location in the saltmarshes of the northwestern San Francisco Bay area near Corte Madera. Saltmeadow cordgrass is native to the southeastern United States, and is listed as a noxious weed in Washington state. Like other cordgrasses, saltmeadow cordgrass reproduces both by seed and vegetatively, with rhizomes. Even small fragments of rhizomes can resprout to form new plants. Although the invasion of saltmeadow cordgrass has only had minor impacts in California, it has the potential to spread and has been shown to cause significant impacts in other locations.

Rating: Limited

Cal-IPC Resources

  • Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.
  • CalWeedMapper - Statewide maps, climate models, and reports.
  • Cal-IPC News - Our quarterly newsletter. Each issue is available as a pdf.
  • Cal-IPC Symposium Proceedings - Presentations and papers from our annual Symposium.
  • Don't Plant a Pest! - Select your region to find non-invasive alternatives to ornamental species. Also see our statewide brochure on trees.

Other Resources

  • USDA PLANTS database -
    Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from the UC Berkeley Jepson Herbarium.
  • CalFlora - Distribution information by county based on submitted observations and herbarium specimens.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.

Symposium Presentations

  • Ayres, D. R., D. L. Smith, et al. (2002). Spread of exotic cordgrasses and hybrids (Spartina sp.) in the tidal marshes of San Francisco Bay. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2002. Sacramento, CA.
  • DiGirolamo, L. (2006). Invasive species removal in an urban environment: Pitfalls and lessons learned. Cal-IPC Symposium. Rohnert Park, CA.
  • DiTomaso, J. M. (2005). Efficacy and safety of new herbicides on the horizon. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Grijalva, E. (2006). Spartina control in the San Francisco Estuary: Progress toward estuary-wide control and eradication. Cal-IPC Symposium. Rohnert Park, CA.
  • Smith, D., S. Klohr, et al. (2002). Introduced Spartina in San Francisco Bay: 2000-2001 Survey and Findings, San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2002. Sacramento, CA.
  • Strong, D. R. and C. C. Daehler (1995). Alien cordgrasses in Pacific estuaries. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '95. M. Kelly, J. Lovich and J. Randall. Pacific Grove, CA.

Cal-IPC News Articles

  • None for this species.