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Common Cord Grass - Invasive Species Information

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What Are Common Cord Grasses - (Spartina angelic) all species & hybrids?

Habitat: Terrestrial. Prefers wet areas / marsh land
Distribution in Ireland: Widely distributed

Status: Established
Family name: Poaceae

Reproduction: The species reproduce by shedding large amounts of pollen that fertilize the flowers of native species, so that the majority of the native plant's off-spring are hybrids

Native to the salt marshes and mudflats of coastal California, it is a perennial grass growing from short rhizomes. Spartina angelic produces single stems or clumps of thick, fleshy stems which grow up to 1.5 meters tall.

Cordgrass - Spartina Stems

Common Cord Grass Stems

Green or purple-tinged long, narrow leaves are flat or rolled inward. The inflorescence is a narrow, dense, spike-like stick of branches appressed together, the unit reaching up to 25 centimeters long. The lower spikelets are sometimes enclosed in the basal sheaths of upper leaves.

How To Identify Common Cord Grass?

Leaves: Narrow light green or purple tinged leaf, flat or rolled inwards.

Flower: tiny feathery pale yellow flowers in 30cm long spikes

Size: Can grow up to 1.5 metres

Cordgrass - Spartina
Cordgrasses - Spartina ID Guide ID Guide

Common Cord Grass - Spartina anglica ID Guide

Common Cord Grass Infestation

Why Is Common Cord Grass A Problem?

As these species proliferate, they trap sediment with their large root masses, raise the elevation of the intertidal areas and replace natural mud and sand flats, native eelgrass and algae beds, and river channels.


The plants can be distributed by birds, animals, humans, water currents, recreational boats and ships’ ballast water. The results can be serious:

  • A loss of critical rearing habitat for fish such as juvenile salmon, clams, oysters and crab.

  • A loss of valuable habitat for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. 

  • An increase in the risk of flooding.

  • A loss of water access from shoreline areas and beaches and for


European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 non-native invasive plant species A-Z (Updated 2017)

There are currently 35 invasive plant species listed in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations (annex 2, Part 1)...


Click on a species from the following list to find out more regarding non-native species subject to restrictions under Regulations 49 and 50.

  1. American Skunk-CabbageLysichiton americanus

  2. Brazilian Giant-RhubarbGunnera manicata

  3. Broad-Leaved RushJuncus planifolius

  4. Cape PondweedAponogeton distachyos

  5. CordgrassesSpartina (all species and hybrids)

  6. Curly Waterweed - Lagarosiphon major

  7. Dwarf Eel-GrassZostera japonica

  8. FanwortCabomba caroliniana

  9. Floating PennywortHydrocotyle ranunculoides

  10. Fringed Water-LilyNymphoides peltata

  11. Giant HogweedHeracleum mantegazzianum

  12. Giant KnotweedFallopia sachalinensis

  13. Giant-RhubarbGunnera tinctoria

  14. Giant SalviniaSalvinia molesta

  15. Himalayan BalsamImpatiens glandulifera

  16. Himalayan KnotweedPersicaria wallichii

  17. Hottentot-FigCarpobrotus edulis

  18. Japanese KnotweedFallopia japonica

  19. Large-Flowered WaterweedEgeria densa

  20. Mile-a-Minute WeedPersicaria perfoliata

  21. New Zealand PigmyweedCrassula helmsii

  22. Parrots FeatherMyriophyllum aquaticum

  23. Red AlgaGrateloupia doryphora

  24. RhododendronRhododendron ponticum

  25. SalmonberryRubus spectabilis

  26. Sea-Buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides

  27. Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

  28. Three-Cornered LeekAllium triquetrum

  29. WakameUndaria pinnatifida

  30. Water ChestnutTrapa natans

  31. Water FernAzolla filiculoides

  32. Water LettucePistia stratiotes

  33. Water-PrimroseLudwigia (all species)

  34. WaterweedsElodea (all species)

  35. WireweedSargassum muticum

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