Scientific name

Cyperus L.

Common names




Could be confused with

Acorus, Carex, Juncus, Sparganium, other sedges and sedge-like genera

Native distribution


Species commonly cultivated

Cyperus alternifolius L. (Madagascar)

C. difformis L. (Cosmopolitan)

C. esculentus L. (Americas)

C. helferi Boeckeler (Asia)

C. odoratus L. (Americas)

C. papyrus L. (Cosmopolitan)

C. strigosus L. (North America)

Adventive distribution

Numerous species are introduced into many countries worldwide.

Weed status

Cyperus brevifolius (Rottb.) Hassk., C. difformis and C. haspan L. are major weeds in rice fields in numerous countries worldwide.


submersed or more commonly emergent

Brief description

Annual or perennial sedge. Stem compact, sometimes with creeping rhizome, usually triangular in cross-section. Leaves in basal rosette, linear and elongate or reduced to scale-like sheaths. Inflorescence terminal, of simple or compound umbels or heads; branches bearing multiple spikelets with distichous bractlets, subtending bracts leaf-like; spikelets 1- to many-flowered; bracts leaf-like. Perianth bristles absent.

Natural habitat

all types of water-bodies

Additional comments

a large genus with ca. 900 species worldwide