Saw Grass - A Cutting Edge Plant For Your Water's Edge Landscaping Needs

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Cladium jamaicense, commonly known as saw grass, is a perennial that is a part of a genus of large sedges � and, therefore, not a true grass � that typically make their home in temperate and tropical regions around the world. Sedge will have a triangular-shaped stem, where true grass will have a round stem. This grassy plant is characterized by its long, narrow, grass-type leaves that have sharp, oftentimes serrated (like a saw, hence the name) margins. The stems of the saw grass are flowering and grow to be approximately 3 to 9 feet tall; they bear inflorescence that are many-branched.
One particular area that is generally very well know for having extensive growth of the saw grass variety of sedge is the Everglades in the south of Florida; some even commonly refer to this plant as �Everglades river grass.� In fact, this is the species of grassy plant that inspired the phrase "River of Grass." It is saw grass that is being referred to when using this particular descriptor. Throughout the Everglades, saw grass can be found rising in patches of intense growth bordered by areas of growth that is quite sparse. Saw grass is particularly prevalent where lime rock is covered by shallow soils and standing or slow-moving water is found. Wildfires can and do spread very quickly in areas that are thick with saw grass, despite the fact that there may be standing water present; luckily, saw grass is a plant that will rapidly re-sprout either from its roots or from its underwater stems.

The saw grass plant is known to regularly grow in bulky, unvarying stands that commonly cover very large areas. The saw or river grass spreads by underground stems and will form solid, tightly packed concentrations that are often problematic, causing the clogging of waterways and oftentimes preventing the flow of water and inhibiting navigation.

Due to the very sharp and tooth-shaped serrations of the saw grass blades, it can be very dangerous to make an attempt at navigating through this flesh-cutting plant. The thick beds do harbor many species of various wildlife creatures, as they provide a veiling cover and ample nesting sites for numerous birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Migrating geese and ducks devour the seeds as a rich food source. Another one of the animals that will build their nests within the blades of the saw grass in the Everglades is the alligator. Saw grass is also indigenous to the islands of Hawaii; there it dominates a large portion of the largest marsh of Hawaii, Kawai Nui Marsh

Saw grass will bloom in May in the southern region of Florida, and a little later in regions to the north. Its flowers are on tall, rusty brown spikes, or stems, that can grow up to 3 feet long and tower high above the leaves of this type of sedge. Its lovely sway of color is perfect along the edge of any large body of water or bog area.

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Author: Tammy Sons

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