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CYPERUS alternifolius

Image of Cyperus alternifolius

Felder Rushing

Family

Cyperaceae

Botanical Name

CYPERUS alternifolius

Plant Common Name

Alternate Papyrus, Umbrella Papyrus, Umbrella Plant

General Description

The bold look of umbrella plant make it a favorite garden plant for moist containers and subtropical pondside gardens. This upright, evergreen, grass-like perennial is native to Madagascar. It spreads steadily by underground rhizomes to form substantial clumps over time, in fact in some areas it has escaped from garden cultivation and is considered invasive.

The chief selling point of this papyrus is its unique, striking foliage. It bears tall, dark green leafless stems topped with a spoke-like whorl of long, leafy bracts. Small, pale yellow to brown flowers occur in summer above the bracts.

Grow umbrella plant in full or partial sun. It is adapted to wet or moist soils but will also tolerate garden soils with average moisture (it is also less aggressive in soils with lower water). Plant it in a either in a large container with wet-soil or at the margin of a water feature. Light frost will kill umbrella papyrus to the roots, but it will rejuvenate in mid-spring. It may aggressively self-sow or spread vegetatively, so be aware of this before planting it in an outdoor garden space where it may become unmanageable.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Sedge or Rush

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    18"-36" / 45.7cm - 91.4cm (30)

  • Width

    18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Madagascar

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green, Brown

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Tropical, Water Gardens

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes