Cladium mariscus

Cladium mariscus (L.) Pohl

Synonym: Cladium jamaicense

Common Names: Saw Grass

Family: Cyperaceae

Habit: Cladium mariscus grows as a clumping herb to 3 meters in height (typically 1.5 meters) that produces rhizomes.  The leaves are arranged alternately, parallel-veined, to 150 cm in length, and have sharp saw toothed margins.

The actinomorphic flowers are arranged in panicle.  The individual flowers are arranged in spikelets of which there are 2-6 grouped at the ends of the inflorescence branches.  The spikelets are subtended by 2-3 scales. The lower flowers in each spikelet are infertile.  There is no calyx or corolla. There are 2 stamens.  The ovary is superior with a single locule.  The fruit is a brown achene at maturity.

Habitat: Cladium mariscus grows along the edges of fresh water wetlands, in Sabal palmetto woodlands and in mangrove areas that are only slightly brackish.

Distribution: Cladium mariscus occurs on all island groupings in the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the southern United States, the entire Caribbean region and Mexico.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Cladium mariscus is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.