Spartina gracilis Trin.
alkali cordgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #84170)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Spartina gracilis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial grass from rhizomes; stems 30-60 (100) cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades in-rolled, usually not over 5 mm wide at the base; ligules blunt, finely hairy, less than 1 mm long.
Inflorescence of 4 to 8, appressed spikes, 2-4 cm long; spikelets 1-flowered, in 2 rows on one side of axis; glumes narrowly lanceolate, 1-nerved, unequal, with long, fine hairs on the keels, the lower ones about 5-6 mm long, shorter than the florets, long-pointed to awn-tipped, the upper ones 2-3 mm longer, slightly exceeding the florets, more rounded; lemmas firm, obscurely nerved, keeled, fringed with fine hairs on the keels, awnless, 6.5-8.5 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Spartina gracilis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
874 580 1100
Slope Gradient (%)
3 0 20

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

73 26 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(6), IDF(16), PP(5)

Habitat and Range

Marshes, wet ditches and meadows to dry (often alkaline) areas in the steppe and montane zones; infrequent in SC and SE BC, rare in NE BC; N to NT, E to MB and S to MN, KS, NM, AZ and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia