Chlorocyperus papyrus (L.) Rikli
Cyperus antiquorum (Willd.) Chiov.
Cyperus elapses Chiov.
Cyperus imerinensis Boeckeler
Cyperus madagascariensis (Willd.) Roem. & Schult.
Cyperus nyassicus Chiov.
Cyperus panormitanus Chiov.
Cyperus papyraceus Crantz
Cyperus siculus Chiov.
Cyperus syriacus Parl.
Cyperus ugandensis Chiov.
Cyperus zairensis Chiov.
Papyrus antiquorum Willd.
Papyrus domesticus Poir.
Papyrus madagascariensis Willd.
Papyrus mossambicensis Parl.
Papyrus siculus Parl.
Common Name: Papyrus
Large extent of the plant growing along the Nile
Photograph by: Marchal
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Papyrus is a vigorous, grass-like, clump-forming, perennial plant with a spreading root system, growing up to 5 metres tall.
The plant has been utilized by humans for over 4,000 years, having been used by the ancient Egyptians for making a kind of paper. It is often cultivated as an ornamental in tropical and warm temperate areas of the world[
Tropical Africa and Madagascar.
Often forms vast stands in swamps, shallow lakes, and along stream banks throughout Africa. It is considered a weed in the Sudan, Dahomey and Egypt[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of the subtropics to the tropics. It can tolerate a mean annual precipitation in the range 100 - 4,200mm, and a mean annual temperatures of 20 - 30°c[
Succeeds in full sun and in partial shade[
]. Prefers a fertile, wet soil, or shallow water up to 30cm deep[
]. The plant can tolerate a pH in the range 6.0 - 8.5[
Plants can spread rapidly by means of their rhizomes[
]. Many African swamps are dominated by papyrus thickets, which totally block navigation. It is estimated that the swamp areas of the White Nile, and the 'Papyrus Swamps' around Lake Kioga and Victoria are responsible for the loss of 50% of that river's water through evaporation and plant transpiration[
Plants can flower throughout the year[
The pith of the stem was recommended for food in ancient Egypt[
Rhizomes and lowermost parts of the stems - raw or cooked[
]. They can also be chewed, sucked, and spat out, much as sugar cane is done[
Papyrus had a number of medicinal applications in the past, though it is little, if at all, used nowadays[
The pith was recommended for widening and drying of fistula[
The main use seems to have been confined to burnt papyrus sheets, the ash of which was reputed to have the action of pulverised charcoal and was used in the treatment of certain eye diseases[
]. The ash was also said to check malignant ulcers from spreading in the mouth or elsewhere[
It was also said that, if macerated in vinegar and then burnt, the ash would heal wounds[
The fibrous pith of the stems has been utilized for making paper[
]. For making paper, the fibrous covering is stripped off the stem and the inner pith is split into wafer-like strips. These strips are then laid side by side, with others placed crosswise on top; the strips are dampened then pressed so that their glue-like sap cements them together. They are then dried into a sheet[
The plant was also traditionally used to make formal bouquets funeral garlands, boats, cordage, fans, sandals, matting, corkage, boxes, and paper[
Papyrus stems can be used for caulking seams in wooden ships[
Papyrus mats are used for making fences and huts[
The rhizomes are cut into sections and used as beads[
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