Native Plant Database

Header Photo: Mervin Wallace

Prairie Cord Grass

Spartina pectinata
Plant Type: Grasses / Sedges / Rushes
Native Environment: Prairie, Wetland
Season of Interest: Mid (May - June), Late (July - frost), Winter (Nov - Mar)
Main Color: Green
Fall Color: Gold

USDA PLANTS Range Map

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Field of green prairie cord grass
Photo: Mervin Wallace
Sun Exposure 
Full Sun
Soil
Moisture
Moderate, High
Nature Attracting
Wildlife Benefit
Butterfly / Moth Host, Cover, Food/Birds, Food/Small Animals
Animal
Resistance
Deer Resistant
Size

Height:

4 to
6
feet

Spread:

4 to
7
feet
Size
Height: 4 to
6
feet
Spread: 4 to
7
feet
Size
Height: 4 to
6
feet
Spread: 4 to
7
feet
Typical Landscape Use
Can be massed in formal areas, surrounded by lawn or concrete, or used around ponds and in rain gardens. Excellent for wet prairies and erosion control. Will spread where it can.
Establishment and Care Instructions
Can be grown from seed if available. Divide to propagate; for best growth, site in fertile and moist to wet loams though it will grow also in sandy or rocky soils. Spreads readily to form large colonies, less so where soil is drier. Tolerates some shade. When working with the plant, wear protection against sharp leaf edges if necessary.
Special Features
Special Usage
Ground Cover, Rainscaping
Basic Description

Tall, spreading warm-season perennial grass with noteworthy sharp-edged arching leaves that are coarse, tough, and glossy, growing in height up to 4′. Initially green, the leaves yellow in fall. The spikelets that form the flower spikes in late summer are arranged on one side of the straw-colored flower structure in the manner of a comb, arching and towering over the leaves. Essential host plant for larvae of several moth species including four-lined borer moth, many-lined cordgrass moth, spartina borer moth, and tortricid moths. Also known by the common name Ripgut.

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Where Can I Find This Plant in Nature?

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