We are following the treatment by Paul M. Peterson et al; 'A molecular phylogeny and new subgeneric classification of Sporobolus (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Sporobolinae)' Taxon 63 (6) December 2014; 1212-1243, whereby the genus Spartina is transferred to the genus Sporobolus[
Spartina × townsendii anglica (C.E.Hubb.) Lambinon & Maquet
Spartina anglica C.E.Hubb.
Common Name: Cord Grass
Sporobolus anglicus is a vigorous, perennial grass, spreading freely by means of rhizomes and sometimes forming extensive colonies; it can grow 5 - 100cm tall[
The plant is occasionally harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is often used in soil stabilization and reclamation projects by the coast.
Sporobolus anglicus is an effective soil stabilizer near the coast and has been introduced for this purpose into several coastal regions in Europe, N. America, China, New Zealand and Australia. In many of these areas it has escaped into the native habitat, where its spread leads to the exclusion of native species such as Zostera species, Salicornia species., Puccinellia maritima and Halimione portalacoides. Considered to be an invasive weed by many, it is still planted in other areas due to the benefits gained from its growth[
Europe - endemic to southern Britain
Tidal mud flats and muddy shingle along the coast, sometimes extending into the water, and sometimes forming extensive colonies[
]. It is found mainly in the region between the extent of the highest spring tides and the lowest (Neap) high tides[
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Succeeds in fresh or salt water marshes and also in ordinary garden soil[
]. Prefers a deep rich moist soil in sun or light shade[
]. Successful establishment of the plant is more likely to occur in silt rather that sand sediments[
Sporobolus anglicus arose as a fertile species in southern England at Hythe, Southampton water during the nineteenth century. It was the result of chromosome doubling by Sporobolus × townsendii (2n=61-62), the sterile hybrid between the native small cord-grass Sporobolus maritimus (2n=60) and the introduced North American smooth cord-grass Sporobolus alterniflorus (2n=62). This is a classic example of allopolyploid speciation[
This species photosynthesizes by a more efficient method than most plants. Called the 'C4 carbon-fixation pathway', this process is particularly efficient at high temperatures, in bright sunlight and under dry conditions[
Young stems - boiled[
The plant can accrete tidal sediment in considerable volumes, allowing for the substantial expansion in marsh elevation. It was this characteristic of the plant that was considered of value for coastal protection and reclamation projects, therefore causing the species to be intentionally introduced to coastal areas of the UK, Northern Europe, China, New Zealand and western USA). However in the UK along the south coast, after the initial spread, the plant has now died back, only occurring in sheltered estuarine conditions where mud flats are present[
]. In several other areas the plant has continued to thrive and spread[
Plant growth causes amelioration of saline soils allowing for the production of suitable substrates for the growth of agricultural crops. Sporobolus anglicus growth also causes sediments to have higher organic matter, porosity and pH than barren mud-flat sediment[
Seed - requires light for germination. Seed is generally of low vigour - sow in a greenhouse in spring and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in the summer if sufficient growth has been made, otherwise overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out in the following spring.
Division in spring. Very easy, it can also be carried out at other times of year, the divisions being planted direct into their permanent positions.