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Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Jamaica swamp sawgrass)
Romfh, Peggy

Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense

Cladium mariscus (L.) Pohl ssp. jamaicense (Crantz) Kük.

Jamaica Swamp Sawgrass, Jamaican Saw-grass, Saw-grass

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Synonym(s): Cladium jamaicense, Cladium leptostachyum, Mariscus jamaicensis

USDA Symbol: clmaj

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (N), PR (N)

Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense is a large sedge with long tough leaves growing from rhizomes. Each stand produces a number of large flower spikes that rise above the leaves.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent. Bloom time refers to fruiting period.


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , HI , LA , MS , NC , NM , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Widespread in Carribean region, north to Gulf states & Virginia.
Native Habitat: Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense grows in limestone soil in fresh water at the edges of wet areas, streams, ponds, and lakes. It is found in the Rio Grande Plains, south east Texas, Edwards Plateau, and Trans-Pecos.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Stream or lake margins, wet areas, often in calcareous soils.
Conditions Comments: Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense is a large sedge with long tough leaves. The leaves have very sharp, saw-toothed margins that are capable of cutting bare skin. Be prepared if you come in contact with this plant! Each stand produces a number of large flower spikes that rise above the leaves. The visually interesting seed heads persist through the summer. Good for wetland gardens and habitat. This is the signature plant of the Florida Everglades.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-651 Collected 2004-07-04 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense


Record Modified: 2022-10-10
Research By: NPC

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