Also known as  paper reed and Nile grass, this tender aquatic herbaceous perennial is native to lakes, rivers and swamps of northern Africa, and was cultivated in the Nile Delta in ancient times.  It is a member of the sedge family, Cyperaceae, that also includes water chestnut and nutgrass, a common lawn weed.  The plants are up to 16′ tall and form grass-like clumps.  They have thick woody rhizomes that are covered by red-brown triangular scales when young.  Triangular green  stems support dense umbels up to 12″ across  of  thin bright green thread-like structures up to 10″ long.  Greenish-brown flower clusters appear at the ends of the threads and give way to brown, nut-like fruits. Papyrus has a long history of use going back to the ancient Egyptians who made one of the first kinds of paper with the stems.  Parts of the plant are edible and the stems are very buoyant so can be made into boats.  Papyrus is used as a house plant, and as an ornmental in water gardens of frost free areas such as  Florida where it has become invasive.  The genus name, Cyperus, is from the Greek word kypeiros , the name given to sedges in ancient times.  The specific epithet, papyrus, comes from the Greek word πάπυρος, referring to paper made into rolls.  

Type: Aquatic tender herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Small greenish brown  clusters at the tip of thread-like styructures

Size: 5-16′ x 2-4′ W

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Wet, boggy, shallow standing water

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Care: Contain growth if necessary

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Division

Companion Plants: Lousiana iris, spiderlily, pickerelweed

Outstanding SelectionC. p. ‘Nanus’ (dwarf, 2-3′ tall)

Photo Credits: Wikipedia



By Karen