Leersia species

Southern cutgrass


There are four species of Leersia in Florida. They are perrenial aquatic grasses. Southern cutgrass, Leersia hexandra, is the most common and occurs throughout Florida. Leersia species grow in very wet communities: ponds, lakes, creeks, floodplains, canals, marches, swamps.


Southern cutgrass has wiry, leaning stems that grow 2-4’ long from above- or below-ground runners. Stem nodes are hairy and root at the lower nodes. Leaves are flat, 1/8 – ¾ inch wide, and 3 – 12” long, tapering to a point. They are sandpapery on both sides, with sharp leaf margins that will cut. Ligules are papery and visible with the naked eye. The inflorescence is compound, 1-6” long, with a few thin branches. Flowers are flattened, ridged, ¼” long, with stiff short hairs. The fruit is flat, ¼” long and somewhat reddish in color.