Spermatophyta: Monocotyledonae

Cyperaceae - Sedge family

Gibbs Russell, G.E. (1977) Keys to Vascular Aquatic Plants in Rhodesia Kirkia 10(2) 411-502

Gordon-Gray, K.D. (1995) Cyperaceae in Natal Strelitzia 2

Govaerts, R., Koopman, J., Simpson, D., Goetghebeur, P., Wilson, K., Egorova, T. & Bruhl, J. (2010) World Checklist of Cyperaceae The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/ accessed 10 July 2010; 12:00 GMT

Haines, R.W. & Lye, K. (1983) The Sedges and Rushes of East Africa East African Natural History Society, Nairobi, Kenya

Description of the family

Annual or perennial herbs, usually most abundant in wet places. Culms usually triangular, usually solid. Leaves: alternate, usually 3-ranked, simple, grass-like or reduced to sheaths; sheath usually closed; ligule usually 0; lamina usually linear or setaceous. Inflorescence consisting of numerous spikelets, usually arranged in an anthela or panicle, often ± umbellate and subtended by leaf-like bracts. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, arising in the axils of a single bract (glume) without a bracteole, or in tribe Cariceae, the female flowers surrounded by a closed utricle. Glumes usually spirally arranged in 1-many-flowered spikelets. Perianth (only present in the tribes Scirpeae and Rhynchosporeae) consisting of 3-6 (rarely more) hairs, bristles or scales, in other tribes 0. Stamens (1-)2-3; anthers basifixed. Ovary superior, 1-locular with 1 erect ovule. Style simple; stigmas 2 or 3. Fruit a 1-seeded nut, biconvex or trigonous. Seeds free from the pericarp.

Comment: In some of the higher-rainfall parts of the country, Cyperaceae are abundant and these areas are often rich in species. In collecting material for determination, it should be noted that the basal and underground parts are often necessary for identification and that immature or flowering material is often difficult to name.

Worldwide: 98 genera and 4,350 species, cosmopolitan but especially temperate areas.

Zimbabwe: 28 genera and 268 taxa.

Coleochloa setifera

More sample images from the Cyperaceae (Click on each image to see a larger version and details of the record)

Lipocarpha nana

Lipocarpha nana

Pycreus pelophilus

Pycreus pelophilus

Fuirena umbellata

Fuirena umbellata

Bulbostylis schoenoides

Bulbostylis schoenoides

Eleocharis acutangula

Eleocharis acutangula

Links to genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

GenusContent
Abildgaardia VahlDescription
Alinula J. Raynal
Ascolepis Nees ex Steud.Description, Image
Bolboschoenus (Asch.) Palla
Bulbostylis KunthDescription, Image
Carex L.Description, Image
Carpha Banks & Sol. ex R. Br.
Cladium P. BrowneDescription
Coleochloa GillyDescription, Image
Costularia C.B. Clarke
Courtoisina SojákDescription
Cyperus L.Description, Image
Eleocharis R. Br.Description, Image
Ficinia Schrad.
Fimbristylis VahlDescription
Fuirena Rottb.Description
Isolepis R. Br.Description
Kyllinga Rottb.Description, Image
Kyllingiella R.W. Haines & LyeDescription
Lipocarpha R.Br.Description, Image
Oxycaryum Nees
Pycreus P. Beauv.Description
Rhynchospora VahlDescription
Schoenoplectus (Rchb.) PallaDescription, Image
Schoenoxiphium Nees
Schoenus L.
Scleria BergiusDescription, Image
Tetraria P. Beauv.

Other sources of information about Cyperaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Cyperaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Cyperaceae
Flora of Zambia: Cyperaceae

External websites:

GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Cyperaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-14

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2014). Flora of Zimbabwe: Family page: Cyperaceae.
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/family.php?family_id=69, retrieved 24 November 2014

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