Cyperus javanicus: Javanese flatsedge

Family: Cyperaceae
Common name: Javanese flatsedge

Javanese flatsedge plants are very commonly seen near canals, lakes, rivers, and wet marshy areas growing as thick, tufty bushes. They can grow to a height of 1-1.2 meters with long, blade-like leaves that are quite sharp along the edges.

These leaves are 80-100 cm long and 2-3 cm wide, and folded slightly along the mid-vein . Although they are native to Australia and Indonesia, these plants have now been introduced to all continents, growing exceptionally well in tropical countries.

Their thick, bushy nature and sharp leaves make them good border or hedge plants preventing grazing animals from entering agricultural land. Javanese flatsedge plants can be quite invasive spreading easily by forming small clumps near parent plants through root rhizomes, and also through seeds that are produced in abundance.

Flowers are produced on thick, green stems that are covered with thin white hairs. These stems grow to about a meter long before producing flowers at the tips.

Javanese flatsedge plants produce dense clusters of pale green or yellow flowers that later turn brown, bearing numerous small seeds. These plants are very resistant to heavy rains, drought, extreme weather conditions, poor soil, and salt sprays.

They grow well in clayey, muddy soil, and even in partially inundated areas. The thick tufts of leaves, and rhizomatous roots make them ideal plants for sloped areas to prevent soil erosion. Leaves can be used for thatching, making baskets, cordage, and paintbrushes.

Propagation is through seeds, and rhizomatous roots.