Spartina anglica

Also known as: Cord grass
Pest group: Plants
Pest type: Grasses

Spartina is an erect, perennial, clump-forming grass around 1m tall with fleshy rhizomes. It reduces estuaries and harbours to thin drains and can lead to immense biodiversity loss.


  • Alternate leaves (5-45 by 4-15mm) are deeply wide ribbed on the upper surface.
  • Has ligules with a dense fringe of hairs (1-3mm long) where leaves meet stems.
  • Seed and vegetative spread from rhizome fragments, both dispersed by water.
  • Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings.
  • Habitats include saline wetlands and estuaries.

What you need to know

Forms dense swards. Traps sediment, raising levels above the high tide mark and reducing large estuaries and shallow harbours to thin drains surrounded by rough pastures. Destroys intertidal zonation and habitat and smothers shellfish beds. This can lead to immense biodiversity loss.

Management approach

This is a declared pest managed under the Canterbury Regional Management Plan 2018 – 2038 (PDF file, 10.6MB) within the site led programme.

Site led

Exclude, eradicate, contain, reduce or control a pest within a specific place to the extent that doing so protects the values of that place.

The community should make us aware of any spartina plants in Waitaha/Canterbury. We will work with affected landowners to undertake control of spartina.


Any species declared a pest cannot be sold or be in a place where plants are being sold. Pest plants cannot be propagated, bred, multiplied, communicated, released, caused to be released, or otherwise spread.


Do not attempt to undertake control of spartina yourself. Report any sightings to us.