, Volume 415, Issue 0, pp 213–222 | Cite as

Spartina patens as a weed in Galician saltmarshes (NW Iberian Peninsula)



Spartina patens (Gramineae) is an American coastal grass which grows in a wide range of coastal habitats in its native area. After it was discovered in some Galician wetlands two years ago, we undertook a regional survey whose preliminary results reveal that this grass is actually a rather common species in Southwestern Galicia, being present in several coastal habitats also. Nevertheless, it is in saltmarshes where it seems to compete more successfully, invading rush communities that have been traditionally harvested for cattle bedding. In many estuaries, it tends to form dense monospecific stands and could become a serious threat to high marsh plant diversity. In order to evaluate the impact of S. patens as an invasive weed in saltmarshes, we have performed a transect study, which seems to indicate that S. patens establishes preferentially in the upper marsh (but reaching higher coverages in the uppermost part of its altitudinal rank), where it has a significant negative effect on species diversity as well as on total cover of other species.

biological invasion biodiversity Spartina versicolor Spain 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adam, P., 1990. Saltmarsh Ecology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Bertness, M. D., 1991a. Interspecific interactions among high marsh perennials in a New England salt marsh. Ecology 72: 125–137.Google Scholar
  3. Bertness, M. D., 1991b. Zonation of Spartina patens and Spartina alterniflora in a New England salt marsh. Ecology 72: 138–148.Google Scholar
  4. Bertness, M. D. & S. W. Shumway, 1993. Competition and facilitation in marsh plants. Am. Nat. 142: 718–724.Google Scholar
  5. Bertness, M. D. & A. M. Ellison, 1987. Determinants of pattern in a New England salt marsh plant community. Ecol. Monogr. 57: 129–147.Google Scholar
  6. Bueno, A., 1997. Flora y vegetación de los estuarios asturianos. Cuadernos de Medio Ambiente NATURALEZA 3. Principado de Asturias. Consejería de Agricultura.Google Scholar
  7. Burdick, D. M., 1989. Root aerenchyma development in Spartina patens in response to flooding. Am. J. Bot. 76: 777–780.Google Scholar
  8. Burdick, D. M. & I. A. Mendelssohn, 1987. Waterlogging responses in dune, swale and marsh populations of Spartina patens under field conditions. Oecologia 74: 321–329.Google Scholar
  9. Burdick, D. M. & I. A. Mendelssohn, 1990. Relationship between anatomical and metabolic responses to soil waterlogging in the coastal grass Spartina patens. J. exp. Bot. 41: 223–228.Google Scholar
  10. Campos, J. A. & M. Herrera, 1997. La flora introducida en el País Vasco. Itinera Geobotanica 10: 235–255.Google Scholar
  11. Chapman, V. J., 1974. Salt marshes and salt deserts of the World. J.Cramer, Lehre (2nd, supplemented reprint edition).Google Scholar
  12. Cosson, E. & Durieu de Maisonneuve, 1867. Introduction á la flore d'Algérie. Phanérogamie. Groupe des Glumacées (seu descriptio glumacearum in Algeria nascentium). Exploration Scientifique de l'Algérie, publiée par ordre du Gouvernement. Sciences Naturelles. Botanique. Imprimerie Impériale. Paris.Google Scholar
  13. Daehler, C. C. & D. R. Strong, 1996. Status, prediction and prevention of introduced cordgrass Spartina spp. invasions in Pacific estuaries, U.S.A. Biol. Conserv. 78: 51–58.Google Scholar
  14. Fabre, M. E., 1849. Description d'une nouvelle espèce de Spartina, abondante sur une portion du littoral méditerranéen. Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot. Paris 3: 122–125.Google Scholar
  15. Fernald, M. L., 1929. Some relationships of the floras of the northern hemisphere. Proc. Int. Congr. Pl. Sci. 2: 1487–1507.Google Scholar
  16. Frenkel, R. E., 1987. Introduction and spread of cordgrass (Spartina) into the Pacific Northwest. Northwest Envir. J. 3: 152–154.Google Scholar
  17. Frenkel, R. E. & T. R. Boss, 1988. Introduction, establishment and spread of Spartina patens on Cox Island, Siuslaw Estuary, Oregon. Wetlands 8: 33–49.Google Scholar
  18. Hester, M. W., I. A. Mendelssohn & K. McKee, 1996. Intraspecific variation in salt tolerance and morphology in the coastal grass Spartina patens (Poaceae). Am. J. Bot. 83: 1521–1527.Google Scholar
  19. Hester, M. W., K. L. McKee, D. M. Burdick, M. S. Koch, K. M. Flynn, S. Patterson & I. A. Mendelssohn, 1993. Clonal integration in Spartina patens across a nitrogen and salinity gradiente. Can. J. Bot. 72: 767–770.Google Scholar
  20. Hultén, E., 1958. The amphi-atlantic plants and their phytogeographical connections. Almquist & Wiksell. Stockholm.Google Scholar
  21. Izco, J. & J. M. Sánchez, 1996. Los medios halófilos de la ría de Ortigueira (A Coruña, España). Vegetación de dunas ymarismas. Thalassas 12: 63–100.Google Scholar
  22. Izco, J., P. Guitián & J. M. Sánchez, 1992. La marisma superior cántabro-atlántica meridional: estudio de las comunidades de Juncus maritimus y de Elymus pycnanthus. Lazaroa 13: 149–169.Google Scholar
  23. Mobberley, D. G., 1956. Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Spartina. Iowa State College Journal of Sciences 30: 471–574.Google Scholar
  24. Mumford, T. F. Jr., P. Peyton, J. R. Sayce & S. Harbell (eds), 1991. Spartina Workshop Record: Seattle, Washington, November 14- 15, 1990. Washington Sea Grant Program. College of Ocean & Fishery Sciences. University of Washington.Google Scholar
  25. Pignatti, S., 1982. Flora d'Italia 3. Edagricole. Bologna, Italia.Google Scholar
  26. Saint-Yves, A., 1932. Monographia Spartinarum. Candollea 5: 19–100.Google Scholar
  27. Sánchez, J. M, J. Izco & M. Medrano, 1996. Relationships between vegetation zonation and altitude in a salt-marsh system in northwest Spain. J. Veget. Sci. 7: 695–702.Google Scholar
  28. Shumway, S. W., 1995. Physiological integration among clonal ramets during invasion of disturbance patches in a New England salt marsh. Ann. Bot. 76: 225–233.Google Scholar
  29. Silander, J. A. & J. Antonovics, 1979. The genetic basis of the ecological amplitude of Spartina patens. I. Morphometric and physiological traits. Evolution 33: 1114–1127.Google Scholar
  30. Tutin, T. G., 1980. Spartina Schreber. In Tutin, T. G. et al.: Flora Europaea, 5: 259–260. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, U.K.Google Scholar
  31. Van der Maarel, E. & M. Van der Maarel-Versluys, 1996. Distribution and conservation status of littoral vascular plant species along the European coasts. J. Coast. Conserv. 2: 73–92.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Botánica, Facultade de Farmacia -Universidade de Santiago de CompostelaSpain E-mail
  2. 2.E.U. de Ingeniería Técnica ForestalUniversidad de VigoPontevedraSpain

Personalised recommendations