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Saw-grass, Jamaica swamp sawgrass
Cladium jamaicense
Cyperaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

The dominant species of much of the Everglades. Also present in a number of other wetland ecosystems including wet pinelands.
Availability:
Native plant nurseries.
Description:
Large herbaceous sedge with saw-toothes leaf margins.
Dimensions:
Typically 3-6 feet in height; to 10 feet when in flower. Clonal and sometimes spreading and forming large patches.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Southern United States west to New Mexico and south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Habitats:
Marshes, wet prairies and wet pinelands.
Soils:
Wet, seasonally inundated freshwater to brackish soils on a variety of substrates.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low to moderate; may tolerate some brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Brown inflorescence.
Flower Characteristics:
Semi-showy inflorescence.
Flowering Season:
Summer-fall.
Fruit:
Inconspicuous achene.
Wildlife and Ecology:
This is the dominant species of the Everglades marsh, especially in the Shark River Slough. Larval host plant for Palatka skipper (Euphyes pilatka) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed.
Comments:
Sawgrass is aptly named as the edges of the leaves are armed with tiny, sawlike prickles. Technically it is not a grass, but a sedge.


 


Roger L. Hammer
James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Keith A. Bradley
Susan Trammell