Flatsedge Plant Information
Flatsedge grows in the following 50 states:Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington
Cyperus is a large genus of about 700 species of sedges, distributed throughout all continents in both tropical and temperate regions.
They are annual or perennial plants, mostly aquatic and growing in still or slow-moving water up to 0.5m deep. The species vary greatly in size, with small species only 5cm tall, while others can reach 5m in height. Common names include papyrus sedges, flatsedges, nutsedges, umbrella-sedges and galingales. The stems are circular in cross-section in some, triangular in others, usually leafless for most of their length, with the slender grass-like leaves at the base of the plant, and in a whorl at the apex of the flowering stems. The flowers are greenish, and wind pollinated; they are produced in clusters among the apical leaves. The seed is a small nutlet.
Cyperus species are eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Batrachedra cuniculata. They also provide an alternative food source for Bicyclus anynana larvae. The seeds and tubers are an important food for many small birds and mammals.
Cyperus microcristatus (from Cameroon) and C.multifolius (native to Panama and Ecuador) are possibly extinct; the former was only found once, in 1995, and the latter has not been seen in the last 200 years. The "true" papyrus sedge of Ancient Egypt, C.papyrus subsp. hadidii, is also very rare today due to draining of its wetland habitat; feared extinct in the mid-20th century, it is still found at a few sites in the Wadi El Natrun region and northern Sudan.
Some tuber-bearing species on the other hand, most significantly the purple nutsedge, C.rotundus, are considered invasive weeds in much of the world.
Around 700 species are currently recognised in the genus Cyperus.
Papyrus sedge (C.papyrus) of Africa was of major historical importance in providing papyrus. C.giganteus, locally known as caita, is used by the Yokot'an Maya of Tabasco, Mexico, for weaving petates (sleeping mats) and sombreros. C.textilis and C.pangorei are traditionally used to produce the typical mats of Palakkad in India, and the makaloa mats of Niihau were made from C.laevigatus.
The Chufa flatsedge (C.esculentus) has edible tubers and is grown commercially for these; they are eaten as vegetables, made into sweets, or used to produce the horchata of the Valencia region. Several other species - e.g. Australian bush onion (C.bulbosus) - are eaten to a smaller extent. For some Northern Paiutes, Cyperus tubers were a mainstay food, to the extent that they were known as tvusi-dkad ("nutsedge tuber eaters").[verification needed]
Most species are of little economic value. Some are grown as ornamental or pot plants, namely the umbrella papyrus (C.alternifolius), the dwarf umbrella-sedge (C.albostriatus, formerly called C.diffusus), and related species. There is increasing interest in the larger, fast-growing species as crops for paper and biofuel production.
Some Cyperus are used in folk medicine. Roots of Near East species were a component of kyphi, a medical incense of Ancient Egypt. Tubers of C.rotundus (purple nut-sedge) tubers are used in kamp.
An unspecified Cyperus is mentioned as an abortifacient in the 11th-century poem De viribus herbarum.
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