Marsh Facts

  • There are two kinds of marsh: freshwater marshes and saltwater marshes.
  • Freshwater marshes occur in low-lying ground alongside rivers and lakes where the water level is always near the soil surface.
  • Freshwater marshes are dominated by plants such as rushes, reeds and sedges.
  • Sedges are like grass but have solid triangular stems. They grow in damp places near the water’s edge.
  • Rushes have long cylindrical leaves and grow in tussocks in damp places along the bank.
  • Reeds are tall grasses with round stems, flat leaves and purplish flowers. They grow in dense beds in open water.
  • Free-floating plants like duckweed and frogbit are common in marshes. In rivers they’d be washed away.
  • Water horsetails are relics of plants that dominated the vast swamps of the Carboniferous Period 300 million years ago.
  • Saltwater marshes are flooded twice daily by salty seawater. Cordgrasses and salt-meadow grass are common. Reeds and rushes grow where it is least salty.
  • Where mud is firm, glasswort and seablite take root. Further from the water sea aster and purslane grow. On high banks, sea lavender, sea plantain and thrift bloom.