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Living Shorelines: Plants of the Low Salt Marsh

These are among the few plants adapted to daily tidal flooding, which occurs in the lower elevations of the salt marsh. They can tolerate high salinity and low oxygen levels. Their ability to withstand wave energy makes them valuable for erosion control. See the field guide to salt and brackish marsh plants for detailed line drawings and habit of the plants.

Detailed View

Plant Descriptions

Habit of Plant
Spartina alterniflora

Saltmarsh or smooth cordgrass - Spartina alterniflora. Grows from 1-8 ft and blooms from August to October with 5-30 flower spikes.

Spartina alterniflora habit
Juncus roemerianus

Black needlerush - Juncus roemerianus. Grows up to 3 ft and blooms from April to October with sharply pointed dark green leaves and a round stem.

Juncus roemerianus community
Spartina cynosuroides

Big cordgrass - Spartina cynosuroides. Grows up to 10 ft. and blooms from July to September with 20-50 flower spikes.

Spartina cynosuroides community
Scirpus robustus

Saltmarsh bulrush - Scirpus robustus. Grows from 2-3 ft. with blooms from July to October and a triangular stem.

Scirpus robustus community