Common name:  Spartina
Scientific name:  Spartina spp
Management programme:  Progressive containment

Why is it a pest?

Groups of spartina form thick grassy clumps. These can spread sideways from underground rhizomes (continuously growing underground stems) or by overground side shoots. Spartina can form in estuary environments, causing a build-up of sediment. This can increase the risk of flooding and also change the habitat for wading bird species and other estuary flora and fauna.

What does it look like?

Spartina is a grass that grows in shallow saltwater, which is why it’s found in estuary environments. It’s commonly 1m tall and has stiff, upright stems, coming from thick rhizomes. The stems have broad, pointed leaves from their base to the top, where several long fingers contain the seed. New growth comes from either root pieces or seed. Shoots rapidly sprout from underground rhizomes, while the seed falls into the water and floats away. Scattered infestations occur in Pleasant River Estuary (between Waikouaiti and Palmerston), Karitane Estuary, the Lower Taieri Gorge and Catlins Lake.

What are the rules?

While ORC controls spartina in Otago, if you receive a written notice from an Authorised Person you must eliminate spartina infestations on the land that you occupy.

How can I control it?

ORC currently controls spartina in Otago. If you think you’ve seen spartina please let us know by calling us on 0800 474 082 or emailing

Management programme

Page last updated 26 June 2024.