Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Prairie Cordgrass

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Spartina pectinata

    COMMON NAMES: Prairie Cordgrass, Sloughgrass, Freshwater Cordgrass, Rip Gut

    BLOOM TIME: July, Aug, Sept


    • 3-7 ft. tall unbranched plant.
    • Arching leaf bladesare¬†8 - 30 in. long x 3/10 - 5/8 in. wide with green to yellow-green color.
    • Tiny flowers at top of spikelets with 10-25 spikelets that are green, then brown after blooming.
    • Warm season grass, actively grows to in summer when soil temps. are warm.
    • Common in central/northern Illinois.
    • Habitat: moist soil with partial to full sun, found in wet prairies, prairie swales, swamps, & marshes.
    • Can adapt to rock or sandy soil if moist.
    • Was a dominant plant in wet prairies & no other grass resembles it.
    • Cross pollinated by wind during a period of 1-2 weeks.
    • Aggressive grower that spreads by rhizomes.
    • Good plant to combat invasive alien species like reed canary grass.


    • The rootstocks & seed heads are eaten by the Canada Goose.
    • The seeds can cling to the fur of animals or clothing of humans; this spreads the seeds to new locations.
    • It is an important source of protective cover and nesting habitat for many wetland birds and other kinds of wildlife.