papyrus

Cyperus papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus flowering
Papyrus infestation
Papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus base
Aquatic
Basal
Simple
Yellow
Brown
Green

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.

Common names 
Also known as: Bull rushes, Egyptian paper plant, Nile grass, Paper reed,
Family 
Cyperaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Year round
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Native to Africa (i.e. Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Zaire, Benin, Nigeria, Senegal, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar).
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

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.

Habitat 

A weed of damp habitats (i.e. swamps, wetlands, drainage lines, lake and dam margins, and waterways).

Habit 

A large, long-lived (i.e. perennial), reed-like plant with stems growing 2-4 m tall.

Impact and control methods 

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.

Stem and leaves 

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.

Flowers and fruits 

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.

Reproduction and dispersal 

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.

Similar species 

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.