Floral phenology and compatibility of sawgrass, Cladium jamaicense (Cyperaceae)

Am J Bot. 2005 Apr;92(4):736-43. doi: 10.3732/ajb.92.4.736.


Sawgrass, Cladium jamaicense, is the dominant macrophyte in the Florida Everglades. We examined sawgrass flowering phenology and compatibility reactions in ex situ and in situ populations over 2 yr. Sawgrass flowers in May in southern Florida. Flower maturation was relatively synchronous within an inflorescence. Along the entire inflorescence, functionally male flowers emerged initially, followed by stigmas, then anthers of hermaphroditic flowers. Flowers of each sex expanded over 2 d with less than 1 d in between, totaling 6- 7 d for an inflorescence to complete flowering. Hand pollinations showed that sawgrass was self-compatible and not pollen-limited, because open pollinations produced fruit set similar to self- and cross-pollinations. Fruit set was low in autogamy and manipulation treatments. Manipulation treatments were used to study the effect of exposure to airborne pollen during hand pollinations. This treatment thus provides a useful technique for studies on the in situ compatibility of wind-pollinated graminoids. Sawgrass was able to self-fertilize, but the timing of flower maturation on an inflorescence promoted outcrossing. Actual outcrossing rates in sawgrass thus depend on clonal architecture and the timing of floral maturation on other inflorescences within a clone rather than on inflorescences of other genets in a population.