A large, long-lived, reed-like plant with upright, three-sided, stems growing 2-4 m tall. It also produces thick creeping underground stems. Its leaves are reduced to sheaths at the base of the stems. Its seed-heads are large and much-branched structures that are subtended by 4-10 relatively small leafy bracts. These seed-heads have numerous thin, hair-like, branches (10-30 cm long) bearing clusters of flower spikelets. Its very narrow flower spikelets (6-15 mm long and about 1 mm wide) contain up to 18 tiny flowers.
Naturalised in south-eastern and central Queensland, in the coastal districts of northern and central New South Wales, and near Perth in south-western Western Australia.
A weed of damp habitats (i.e. swamps, wetlands, drainage lines, lake and dam margins, and waterways).
A large, long-lived (i.e. perennial), reed-like plant with stems growing 2-4 m tall.
Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) has spread from cultivation as a garden and pond plant and invaded the margins of permanent water bodies in south-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. This rapidly growing species can spread to cover areas of open water, preventing other aquatic species from growing, and reducing light levels to submerged native plants. It is regarded as a minor environmental weed or potential environmental weed in parts of Queensland and New South Wales. For example, infestations were recently targeted for removal from Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve, at Port Stephens on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.
Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is also a weed of deep water channels in the Warriewood Wetlands and a common weed in the Lakes of Cherrybrook Reserve in suburban northern Sydney.
This plant has thick creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) as well as rigid upright (i.e. erect) flowering stems. The flowering stems are triangular in cross-section (i.e. trigonous), smooth and hairless.
The leaves are reduced to sheaths at the base of the stems.
The seed-heads (i.e. inflorescence) are large and much-branched structures that are subtended by 4-10 relatively small leafy bracts. These seed-heads have numerous thin, hair-like, branches (10-30 cm long) that are arranged in an almost spherical shape. Each of the seed-head branches bears a cluster of numeorus narrow (i.e. linear) flower spikelets. These flower spikelets (6-15 mm long and about 1 mm wide) contain up to 18 tiny flowers (i.e. florets).
The 'seeds' (i.e. nuts or achenes) are dark grey, triangular in cross section (i.e. trigonous), and about 1.3 mm long.
This species reproduces by seed and vegetatively via its creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes).
The rhizomes spread laterally and can eventually form massive colonies, while the seeds may be dispersed by water or in mud attached to animals and vehicles.
Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is relatively similar to dwarf papyrus (Cyperus prolifer), however the latter species is much smaller in stature and only grows up to 1.2 m tall.