Spartina anglica

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaPoaceaeSpartinaSpartina anglica


A rhizomatous perennial herb of tidal mud-flats and saltmarshes, much planted as a mud-binder and forming extensive stands in many estuaries. It originated in Southampton Water (S. Hants.) in about 1890 as an amphidiploid derivative of S. x townsendii. Lowland.



World Distribution

Endemic as a native to Britain, but widely planted in W. Europe.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Littoral sediment (includes saltmarsh and saltmarsh pools)

Light (Ellenberg): 9

Moisture (Ellenberg): 9

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 7

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 4.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 904

Life form information

Height (cm): 130

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 251

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 71

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 1

Atlas Change Index: 0.11

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Adam P
1990.  Saltmarsh ecology.
Ferris C, King RA, Gray AJ
1997.  Molecular evidence for the maternal parentage in the hybrid origin of Spartina anglica C. E. Hubbard. Molecular Ecology. 6:185-187.
Goodman et al (1959
Goodman PJ, Williams WT
1961.  Investigations into ‘die-back’ in Spartina townsendii agg. III. Physiological correlates of ‘die-back’. Journal of Ecology. 49:391-398.
Gray AJ, Benham PEM
1990.  Spartina anglica - a research review. ITE Research Publication no. 2.
Raybould AF, Gray AJ, Lawrence MJ, Marshall DF
1991.  The evolution of Spartina anglica C. E. Hubbard (Gramineae) - origin and genetic variability. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 43:111-126.