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Cyperus papyrus


Cyperus papyrus

Family Name: Cyperaceae
Common Name: Bulrush, Paper Plant, Papyrus, Paper Reed, Egyptian Paper Plant


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Emergent Aquatic, Waterside / Marginal), Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Fountain (Palm-like)
Maximum Height 2.5 m to 3.0 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.9 m to 1.2 m


Native Distribution Egypt, Sudan, North Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Emergent aquatic or marginal sedge, up to 3m height. Tall, impressive shrub for large water features with calm water (50cm depth).Leaves reduced, at base of culms. Stems triangular in cross-section, main stems topped by wiry heads of shiny green stalks to form flowering heads. Flowers small, pale brown. Flower heads droop with age. Fruits dark brown, nuts. Propagate by division of woody rhizomes at base of clumps.Stem piths used to make papyrus sheets by ancient Eygptians. Stems woven into reed mats and baskets (bulrush basket used to hold biblical baby Moses). Starchy rhizomes and flowering culms eaten raw or cooked by north Africans. Young stems grazed by livetsock. Ash from burnt papyrus used to treat wounds and ulcers.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Stems
Food (Herb or Spice) (Fruit or Vegetable)
Others: Stem pith used to make papryrus sheets in ancient Eygpt. Starchy rhizomes and flowering heads eaten raw or cooked in north Africa. Flower heads also used to make garlands. Young shoots grazed by livestock. Ash from burnt papyrus sheets used to treat wounds and ulcers.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Stems, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Riverine, Swimming Poolside, Focal Plant, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden, Bioswales / Sunken Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Abiotic (Wind)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Easy to Grow
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Pruning Prune to restrict growth.
Fertilizing Plant is a heavy feeder. Fertilize once per month.
Potential Problems Spreads quicky and extensively under favourable conditions. May invade space of other plants, unless pruned back.
Diseases May be affected by mealybugs if grown indoors.
Pest(s) Associated with
Propagation Method Seed, Division
Maintenance Requirements Remarks Centre of clump tends to die back and look unsightly. Practicse division and start new clumps to maintain attractiveness.
Propagation Method Remarks Division may require use of chainsaw to cut through thick woody rhizome.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Scaly
Foliar Modification Reduced / Needle-like
Typical Foliar Area Nanophyll ( 0.25cm2 - 2.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Rhizome)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Brown, Cream / Off-White, Green
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Time-Independent
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Nut / Nutlet

Image Repository



Master ID 627
Species ID 1922
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 24 February 2022.