Cladium mariscus.jpeg
Cladium mariscus
Scientific classification e
  • Mariscus Scop.
  • Trasis P.Beauv. in T.G.Lestiboudois

Cladium (fen-sedge, sawgrass or twig-sedge) is a genus of large sedges, with a nearly worldwide distribution in tropical and temperate regions. These are plants characterized by long, narrow (grass-like) leaves having sharp, often serrated (sawtooth-like) margins, and flowering stems 1–3 m tall bearing a much-branched inflorescence. Like many plants found in wet habitats, it has deeply buried rhizomes that can produce tall shoots with dense canopies.[2]

Cladium mariscus subsp. jamaicense , or saw-grass, is common in marshes and savannas throughout the tropical Americas. One typical and well-known area of extensive saw-grass growth is the Florida Everglades;[3] sawgrass is the plant referred to by the descriptor, "River of Grass". Like many species of the Everglades, C. jamaicense grows in extremely infertile conditions, particularly wet sites that are low in phosphorus.[4] Dense sawgrass beds are intermingled with other vegetation types. Together they produce a rich array of habitats that support the biological diversity of the Everglades.[5] American alligators also use sawgrass to build nests.[6] Phosphorus from agricultural runoff favoured dense cattail over rich sawgrass habitats, choking off water access for animals and birds. Eighty plant and animal species in the Everglades are threatened or endangered.[7]

Cladium mariscoides, or twig-rush, is also a wetland plant, but is found further north, and in other kinds of wetlands including fens,[8] wet meadows [9] and pond shores.[10] Owing to such specific habitat requirements, it is quite rare in the northern states such as Minnesota.[11] "Finding a self-sustaining population of C. mariscoides on a lake shore is indeed a very rare event in Minnesota".[12]

Cladium mariscus is frequently encountered in English fens.[13] Its ability to form dense stands can lead to reduced plant diversity.[14] Hence, it is sometimes mowed to reduce dominance.[15]

Sawgrass may be useful as a source for developing biofuel (ethanol), possibly replacing corn as the cellulose (the basis for developing ethanol) source of choice.[16]

Fossil record

Several fossil endocarps of †Cladium bicorne and †Cladium reidiorum have been described from middle Miocene strata of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[17]

Other Languages
беларуская: Меч-трава
català: Cladium
Cebuano: Cladium
čeština: Mařice
dansk: Avneknippe
eesti: Mõõkrohi
español: Cladium
français: Cladium
hornjoserbsce: Mječica
hrvatski: Ljutak
ქართული: ხერხა
қазақша: Семсершөп
lietuvių: Ratainytė
magyar: Télisás
Nederlands: Cladium
polski: Kłoć
português: Cladium
русский: Меч-трава
suomi: Taarnat
svenska: Agsläktet
українська: Меч-трава
Winaray: Cladium
中文: 一本芒属