Dr. Randall Hughes FSU Coastal & Marine Lab
One doesn’t need to look at a calendar to realize that fall is upon us – recent cool mornings are a welcome sign. The marsh is also showing signs of change, with cordgrass flowering shoots springing up everywhere.
These stems are quite noticeable – they are taller than non-reproductive plants, and they have a “feathery” appearance due to the reproductive structures at the tops of the stems.
As I’ve mentioned before, cordgrass is one of those plants (like strawberries) that can spread by underground rhizomes, putting up new stems along the way. Alternatively, it can reproduce the “traditional” way, with reproductive stems that broadcast and receive pollen via the wind, ultimately producing seeds that fall to the sediment, get buried, and then germinate to produce new seedlings. Though conventional wisdom is that most new cordgrass stems are produced vegetatively by spreading rhizomes, it’s clear at our sites that these plants are investing a lot of energy in the other form of reproduction! Continue reading