Cladium mariscoides (Muhl.) Torr.

smooth saw-sedge

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Smooth saw-sedge is a native sedge of pond shores, often standing in shallow water, sometimes also found in small marshes or alongside rivers. In much of its range, it prefers soils of near neutral pH and high calcium, so fens are a favorite habitat. It is pollinated by wind and produces tiny seeds that are dispersed by water or small animals. It can also propagate by rhizomes, producing clones that are several meters in diameter.

Habitat

Bogs, fens (calcium-rich wetlands), floodplain (river or stream floodplains), lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is round or oval in cross-section
Leaf blade width
1–3.5 mm
Leaf blade cross-section
the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
Inflorescence position
  • the inflorescence appears to come from the side of the plant because the involucral bract at its base looks like an extension of the main stem
  • the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
Inflorescence branching
the inflorescence is branched
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is like a seed, and surrounded by scales
Fruit length
2.5–3 mm
Leaf position on plant
some leaf attachment points are above the midpoint of the stem
Perianth composition
there is no perianth on the plant
Fruit cross-section
the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther color (dry)
    the anthers are orange to red-brown in color
    Anther length
    Up to 2 mm
    Floral bristle color
    NA
    Floral bristle number
    0
    Floral bristle relative length
    NA
    Floral bristles
    NA
    Floral scale hairs
    the floral scales have hairs on them
    Floral scale length
    2.5–3 mm
    Floral scale shape
    • the floral scales are lanceolate (widest below the middle, and tapering at both ends)
    • the floral scales are oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the floral scales are ovate (roughly egg-shaped)
    Floral scale translucent
    the floral scales are opaque
    Inflorescence bract angle
    the bracts are vertical or angled only slightly outwards
    Inflorescence bract number
    • there are six or more bracts per inflorescence
    • there are two to five bracts per inflorescence
    Inflorescence bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Inflorescence bracts
    there are at least two bracts, and they are either flat or folded or rolled in at the edges
    Inflorescence branching
    the inflorescence is branched
    Inflorescence crowding
    the inflorescence is at least somewhat spread out, with at least one branch coming from the main stem
    Inflorescence position
    • the inflorescence appears to come from the side of the plant because the involucral bract at its base looks like an extension of the main stem
    • the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
    Inflorescence shape
    the aggregations within the inflorescence are roughly circular (not flattened) in cross-section
    Inflorescence type
    there are two or more flowers, spikes or flower clusters on a branched inflorescence
    Perianth composition
    there is no perianth on the plant
    Stamen number
    2
    Stigma number
    3
    Style division
    the top two thirds of the style is divided
    floral bristle barbs
    NA
    plantlets budding at flower bases
    no
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene beak length
    0 mm
    Achene surface texture
    the achene is smooth (it has no detectable texture)
    Achene tubercle relative width
    NA
    Achene tubercle width
    0 mm
    Capsule relative length
    NA
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
    Fruit length
    2.5–3 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is like a seed, and surrounded by scales
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, seed-like fruit) without a tubercle (a swelling or projection, usually of a different color or texture)
    Locules in capsule
    NA
    Seed length
    0 mm
    Seed tail relative length
    0 mm
    Seed tails
    NA
    Tubercle height
    0 mm
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizome thickness
    2.5–3 mm
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Auricle length
    0 mm
    Auricle texture
    NA
    Auricles
    there are no auricles on the leaf sheath
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
    Leaf blade length
    Up to 30 mm
    Leaf blade width
    1–3.5 mm
    Leaf form
    all the leaves hold their form out of water
    Leaf position on plant
    some leaf attachment points are above the midpoint of the stem
    Leaf septa
    the leaf blades do not have transverse septa
    Leaf sheath hairs
    the leaf sheathes are without hairs
    Pedicel length (Typha)
    0 mm
    Stem leaf blade ligules
    there are no ligules at the leaf blade bases
    Stem leaf blades
    there are fully-developed leaves with leaf blades on the main stem
    Width of seed-producing inflorescence
    20–50 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • bogs
    • fens (calcium-rich wetlands)
    • in lakes or ponds
    • river or stream floodplains
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    30–100 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is round or oval in cross-section
    Stem texture near tip
    the stem feels smooth near the tip

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Vermont
rare (S-rank: S2)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Rhynchospora capitellata

Synonyms

  • Mariscus mariscoides (Muhl.) Kuntze

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Cladium

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