The name, Cyperus is perhaps most often associated with the Ancient Egyptian plant, the Papyrus. However, Cyperus are found in almost every continent in the world whether they are temperate or tropical regions. The plants are generally aquatic and are happiest in slow moving or still waters no more than half a metre deep.
The Cyperus comes in a huge variety of guises. Many are the taller, ‘umbrella-plant’ varieties whilst there are others, which are rather short and hairy. They can vary a great deal in size, from 5cm high species to those that grow to 5 metres in height. The most common species include umbrella-sedges, flat-sedges, galingales and the aforementioned papyrus.
The stems also vary; some are circular and others are triangular. Nonetheless, most of the stems are entirely leafless. The base of the plant, however, will generally be decorated with slim, grass-like leaves, which can also appear towards the apex of flowered stems. The flowers themselves, usually greenish, are generally found in clusters among the leaves.
Whilst the plant can be found on all continents, they are especially endemic in the marshy riverbanks of the Mediterranean. Several species also appear throughout Southeast Asia. They often form into ‘lawns’, but most prefer wet areas and can often be the dominating species of streams and lakes.
About 600 varieties exist, but less than half a dozen are suitable as houseplants. The most suitable for aquariums are the Cyperus Helferi variety.
The Cyperus is essentially a huge genus. As noted above, there are more than 600 sedge species that can be categorized within the family name of Cyperaceae.
The essential point for the Cyperus is that they are kept wet and moist. Not only can many survive when submerged, but most actually thrive in bog areas. They also tend to prefer bright, sunny places, as they need good light to grow properly. They should be fed with nutrient-rich substrates and watered with clean water, preferably carbon dioxide enriched.
Did You Know?
Many Cyperus have been used for folk medicine and they symbolise eternal life.
Cyperus Papyrus was used by the Ancient Egyptians to make paper.