Cyperus papyrus

Source: Dave Pape

Cyperus papyrus

Cyperus papyrus or papyrus is well-known for the manufacturing of paper in ancient Egypt, called papyrus.

It needs swampy conditions either planted at the bottom of a pond or heavily watered if grown in soil or a pot.

Can be grown in the garden, on a patio as well as indoors.


Cyperus papyrus is a water plant that forms lumps from thick, woody rhizomes.

The stems are triangular, green, up to 5 m high and 4 cm thick at the base, with a dense mass of thin, bright green, wire-like stems of 10-45 cm long. These stems bend over and form a nearly spherical head.

The inflorescences are greenish brown spikelets and appear in the summer.


Common names:

Bull rushes, bulrush, Egyptian paper plant, Egyptian papyrus, Egyptian papyrus plant, giant papyrus, Nile grass, paper plant, paper reed, papyrus, papyrus plant, papyrus sedge


Chlorocyperus papyrus, Cyperus antiquorum, Cyperus antiquorum var. palaestinae, Cyperus elapsus, Cyperus panormitanus, Cyperus papyraceus, Cyperus papyrus var. antiquorum, Cyperus papyrus subsp. antiquorum, Cyperus papyrus subsp. hadidii, Cyperus papyrus subsp. niliacus, Cyperus papyrus var. niliacus, Cyperus papyrus var. palaestinae, Cyperus papyrus subsp. papyrus, Cyperus papyrus subsp. siculus, Cyperus papyrus subsp. ugandensis, Cyperus siculus, Cyperus syriacus, Cyperus ugandensis, Papyrus antiquorum, Papyrus domesticus, Papyrus mossambicensis, Papyrus siculus


Cyperus: from the Greek kúpeiros (reed)
Papyrus: grom the Greek pápuros (name of the plant, paper)


Tropical and subtropical Africa


Marshes, river banks and lakes margins in full sun


USDA zone 9-11
Above ground: 5 °C
Below ground: 0 °C
If planted at the bottom of a pond, the feet will be frost-free and the plant will grow back next Spring and can be grown in USDA zone 8.



Sandy, clay, loam


Sun, partial shade


Always wet, preferably immersed under water


Monthly with universal liquid fertilizer


When the plant outgrows its pot


Old, dried culms turn brown and may be removed by cutting them off right above the soil

Cyperus papyrus

Source: Jacqui1948

Cyperus papyrus


Seed, division

Sowing instructions:

  • sow in light soil
  • the seeds are very small: soil at the surface and press gently down
  • very humid
  • 20-25 °C
  • germination: 2-3 weeks