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Cyperus papyrus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Papyrus sedge
Cyperus papyrus6.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Cyperus
Species: C. papyrus
Binomial name
Cyperus papyrus
L.
 Papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus) at Kew Garden London
Papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus) at Kew Garden London

Cyperus papyrus (papyrus sedge, paper reed, Indian matting plant, Nile grass) is a species of aquatic flowering plant belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a tender herbaceous perennial, native to Africa, and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water.

Papyrus sedge (and its close relatives) has a very long history of use by humans, notably by the Ancient Egyptians—it is the source of papyrus paper, one of the first types of paper ever made. Parts of the plant can be eaten, and the highly buoyant stems can be made into boats. It is now often cultivated as an ornamental plant.

In nature, it grows in full sun, in flooded swamps, and on lake margins throughout Africa, Madagascar, and the Mediterranean countries.[1]

C. papyrus[2] and the dwarf cultivar C. papyrus 'Nanus'[3] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Transcription

Contents

Description

This tall, robust, leafless aquatic plant can grow 4 to 5 m (13 to 16 ft) high.[4] It forms a grass-like clump of triangular green stems that rise up from thick, woody rhizomes. Each stem is topped by a dense cluster of thin, bright green, thread-like stems around 10 to 30 cm (4 to 10 in) in length, resembling a feather duster when the plant is young. Greenish-brown flower clusters eventually appear at the ends of the rays, giving way to brown, nut-like fruits.

The younger parts of the rhizome are covered by red-brown, papery, triangular scales, which also cover the base of the culms. Botanically, these represent reduced leaves, so strictly it is not quite correct to call this plant fully "leafless".

Papyrus in history

 Papyrus paper
Papyrus paper

Egyptians used the plant (which they called aaru) for many purposes, most famously for making papyrus. Its name in Greek and in English is widely believed to have come from Egyptian. Cyperus papyrus is now used mainly for decoration, as it is nearly extinct in its native habitat in the Nile Delta, where in ancient times it was widely cultivated. Theophrastus' History of Plants (Book iv. 10) states that it grew in Syria, and according to Pliny's Natural History, it was also a native plant of the Niger River and the Euphrates.

Aside from papyrus, several other members of the genus Cyperus may also have been involved in the multiple uses Egyptians found for the plant. Its flowering heads were linked to make garlands for the gods in gratitude. The pith of young shoots was eaten both cooked and raw. Its woody root made bowls and other utensils and was burned for fuel. From the stems were made reed boats (seen in bas-reliefs of the Fourth Dynasty showing men cutting papyrus to build a boat; similar boats are still made in southern Sudan), sails, mats, cloth, cordage, and sandals. Theophrastus states that King Antigonus made the rigging of his fleet of papyrus, an old practice illustrated by the ship's cable, wherewith the doors were fastened when Odysseus slew the suitors in his hall (Odyssey xxi. 390).

The "rush" or "reed" basket in which the Biblical figure Moses was abandoned may have been made from papyrus.

The adventurer Thor Heyerdahl built two boats from papyrus, Ra and Ra II, in an attempt to demonstrate that ancient African or Mediterranean people could have reached America. He succeeded in sailing Ra II from Morocco to Barbados. Fishermen in the Okavango Delta use small sections of the stem as floats for their nets.

Ecology

 Papyrus growing wild on the banks of the Nile in Uganda
Papyrus growing wild on the banks of the Nile in Uganda

Papyrus can be found in tropical rain forests,[where?] tolerating annual temperatures of 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F) and a pH of 6.0 to 8.5. Papyrus flowers in late summer, and prefers full sun to partly shady conditions. Like most tropical plants, it is sensitive to frost. In the United States, it has become invasive in Florida and has escaped from cultivation in Louisiana, California, and Hawaii.

Papyrus sedge forms vast stands in swamps, shallow lakes, and along stream banks throughout the wetter parts of Africa, but it has become rare in the Nile Delta. In deeper waters, it is the chief constituent of the floating, tangled masses of vegetation known as sudd. It also occurs in Madagascar, and some Mediterranean areas such as Sicily and the Levant.

The "feather-duster" flowering heads make ideal nesting sites for many social species of birds. As in most sedges, pollination is by wind, not insects, and the mature fruits after release are distributed by water.

Papyrus is a C4 sedge that forms highly productive monotypic stands over large areas of wetland in Africa.[citation needed]

Cultivation

The papyrus plant is relatively easy to grow from seed, though in Egypt, it is more common to split the rootstock,[5] and grows quite fast once established.

Uses

In Ancient Egypt, papyrus was used for various of purposes such as baskets, sandals, blankets, medicine, incense, and boats. The woody root was used to make bowls and utensils, and was burned for fuel. Egyptians made efficient use of all parts of the plant. Papyrus was an important "gift of the Nile" which is still preserved and perpetuated in the Egyptian culture. [6]

References

  1. ^ "Cyperus papyrus". plantzafrica.com. 
  2. ^ "Cyperus papyrus AGM". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  3. ^ "Cyperus papyrus 'Nanus' AGM". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  4. ^ "Cyperus papyrus". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife. 
  5. ^ "Cyperus papyrus L". Purdue University. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ [1], The Ancient Egypt website, retrieved on November 15, 2016.

Further reading

  • Boar, R. R., D. M. Harper and C. S. Adams. 1999. Biomass Allocation in Cyperus papyrus in a Tropical Wetland, Lake Naivasha, Kenya. 1999. Biotropica 3: 411.
  • Chapman, L.J., C.A. Chapman, R. Ogutu-Ohwayo, M. Chandler, L. Kaufman and A.E. Keiter. 1996. Refugia for endangered fishes from an introduced predator in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Conservation Biology 10: 554-561.
  • Chapman, L.J., C.A. Chapman, P.J. Schofield, J.P. Olowo, L. Kaufman, O. Seehausen and R. Ogutu-Ohwayo. 2003. Fish faunal resurgence in Lake Nabugabo, East Africa. Conservation Biology 17: 500-511.
  • Gaudet, John. 1975. Mineral concentrations in papyrus in various African swamps. Journal of Ecology 63: 483-491.
  • Gaudet, John. 1976. Nutrient relationships in the detritus of a tropical swamp.Archiv für Hydrobiologie 78: 213-239.
  • Gaudet, John. 1977. Natural drawdown on Lake Naivasha, Kenya and the formation of papyrus swamps. Aquatic Botany 3: 1-47.
  • Gaudet, John. 1977. Uptake and loss of mineral nutrients by papyrus in tropical swamps. Ecology 58: 415-422.
  • Gaudet, John. 1978. Effect of a tropical swamp on water quality. Verh. Internat. Ver. Limnol. 20: 2202-2206.
  • Gaudet, John. 1978. Seasonal changes in nutrients in a tropical swamp. Journal of Ecology 67: 953-981.
  • Gaudet, John. 1980. Papyrus and the ecology of Lake Naivasha. National Geographic Society Research Reports. 12: 267-272.
  • Gaudet, J. and J. Melack. 1981. Major ion chemistry in a tropical African lake basin. Freshwater Biology 11: 309-333.
  • Gaudet, J. and C. Howard-Williams. 1985. “The structure and functioning of African swamps.” In (ed. Denny) The Ecology and Management of African Wetland Vegetation. Dr.w.Junk, Pub., Dordrecht (pp. 154–175).
  • Gaudet, John. 1991. Structure and function of African floodplains. Journal of the East African Natural Historical Society. 82(199): 1-32.
  • Harper, D.M., K.M. Mavuti and S. M. Muchiri. 1990: Ecology and management of Lake Naivasha, Kenya, in relation to climatic change, alien species introductions and agricultural development. Environmental Conservation 17: 328–336.
  • Harper, D. 1992. The ecological relationships of aquatic plants at Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia. 232: 65-71.
  • Howard-Williams, C. and K. Thompson. 1985. The conservation and management of African wetlands. In (ed. Denny) The Ecology and Management of African Wetland Vegetation. Dr.w.Junk, Pub., Dordrecht (pp. 203–230).
  • Jones, M.B. and T. R. Milburn. 1978. Photosynthesis in Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus L.), Photosynthetica. 12: 197 - 199.
  • Jones, M. B. and F. M. Muthuri. 1997. Standing biomass and carbon distribution in a papyrus (Cyperus Papyrus L) swamp on Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 13: 347–356.
  • Jones M.B. and S. W. Humphries. 2002. Impacts of the C4 sedge Cyperus papyrus L. on carbon and water fluxes in an African wetland. Hydrobiologia, Volume 488, pp. 107–113.
  • Maclean, I.M.D. 2004. An ecological and socio-economic analysis of biodiversity conservation in East African wetlands. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
  • Maclean, I.M.D., M. Hassall, M. R. Boar and I. Lake. 2006. Effects of disturbance and habitat loss on papyrus-dwelling passerines. Biological Conservation., 131: 349-358.
  • Maclean, I.M.D., M. Hassall, R. Boar, R. and O. Nasirwa. 2003a. Effects of habitat degradation on avian guilds in East African papyrus Cyperus papyrus L. swamps. Bird Conservation International, 13: 283-297.
  • Maclean, I.M.D., R. Tinch, M. Hassall and R.R. Boar, R.R. 2003b. Social and economic use of wetland resources: a case study from Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda. Environmental Change and Management Working Paper No. 2003-09, Centre for Social and Economic Research into the Global Environment, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
  • Maclean, I.M.D., R. Tinch, M. Hassall and R.R. Boar. 2003c. Towards optimal use of tropical wetlands: an economic evaluation of goods derived from papyrus swamps in southwest Uganda. Environmental Change and Management Working Paper No. 2003-10, Centre for Social and Economic Research into the Global Environment, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
  • Messenger Dally. 1908 How papyrus defeated South Sydney and assisted in making Eastern Suburbs great
  • Muthuri, F. M., M. B. Jones, and S.K. Imbamba. 1989. Primary productivity of papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) in a tropical swamp - Lake Naivasha, Kenya, Biomass, 18: 1 - 14.
  • Muthuri, F. M. and M. B. Jones. 1997. Nutrient distribution in a papyrus swamp: Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Aquatic Botany, 56: 35–50.
  • Owino, A. O. and P. G. Ryan. 2006. Habitat associations of papyrus specialist birds at three papyrus swamps in western Kenya. African Journal of Ecology 44: 438-443.
  • Thompson, K. 1976. Swamp development in the head waters of the White Nile. In (ed.J. Rzoska) ‘‘The Nile. Biology of an Ancient River.’’Monographiae Biologicae, 29. Dr.W. Junk b.v., The Hague.
  • Thompson, K., P.R. Shewry & H.W. Woolhouse. 1979. Papyrus swamp development in the Upemba Basin, Zaire: Studies of population structure in Cyperus papyrus stands. Botanical Journal of the Linn. Soc. 78: 299-316.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 October 2017, at 22:37.
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