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Cyperus articulatus - L.

Common Name Jointed flatsedge, Priprioca, Piripiri
Family Cyperaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats This species is a perennial rhizomatous sedge commonly found growing in ponds, ditches, rivers, marshes, lakes and banks of canals of shallow water. It also occurs in stagnant or weakly running water, sometimes alternatively fresh and salted water. It forms great reed marsh on temporary unflooded soils.
Range Widespread in warm temperate to tropical areas of the Americas, Africa through Arabia to India.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Full sun
Cyperus articulatus Jointed flatsedge, Priprioca, Piripiri

Cyperus articulatus Jointed flatsedge, Priprioca, Piripiri


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Cyperus articulates or commonly known as Piripiri or Jointed Flatsedge is an aromatic species of sedge in Africa, southern Asia, northern Australia, south eastern United States, the West Indies, and Latin America. It is one of the traditional spices of the Amazon region. It produces stout culms about 250 cm tall from a long-creeping, thick rhizome. The rhizome can be eaten raw when peeled. The plant is used in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, intestinal gas, headaches, colds, flu, mouth sores and ulcers, and hypertension. Externally, it is used to treat snake bites and prevent baldness. Piripiri stems are used in making baskets, mats, sacks, and other crafts. Essential oil from the rhizome is used in perfumery while the rhizome can be dried or burnt and used as incense and as a mosquito repellent. The plant can also be grown along the banks of streams to prevent soil erosion. It is native to Africa, temperate and tropical Asia.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cyperus articulatus is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cyperus corymbosus Rottb.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Used as a flavoring for food.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Abortifacient  Anthelmintic  Antibacterial  Antibilious  Antiemetic  Antifungal  Carminative  Contraceptive  
Digestive  Epilepsy  Febrifuge  Hypotensive  Malaria  Sedative  Tonic

Piripiri has a long history of use in herbal medicine systems in South America. It is particularly valued for its beneficial effect upon the digestive system and is commonly used to treat nausea, vomiting, stomach-aches, and intestinal gas[ 318 ]. The plant is anthelmintic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antifungal, carminative, contraceptive, digestive, febrifuge and sedative[ 318 ]. More recently, interest has grown about the plants possible use in treating conditions such as epilepsy and convulsions. Researchers in Africa have published several studies which suggest that the plant can mediate many of the brain chemical reactions which are required in epilepsy and report that the rhizome has anti-epileptic actions. In addition, other laboratory research reports that the plant has anti-convulsant actions, as well as sedative actions[ 318 ]. The fresh rhizomes are ground up to extract the juice, which is used as a nerve tonic in cases of stress and nervous and mental disorders (including epilepsy). It is also used to treat and prevent a wide range of digestive and gastrointestinal disorders; to treat fevers and flu; to facilitate child birth or to induce an abortion; as a contraceptive; and for throat cancer[ 318 ]. Externally, it is used to heal wounds and treat snake bite, whilst it is also put on the head as a hair tonic and to treat or prevent baldness[ 318 ]. A leaf infusion is employed for treating headaches; colds and flu; mouth sores and ulcers; and hypertension[ 318 ]. The whole plant is decocted to relieve nausea and vomiting caused from malaria[ 318 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Cosmetic  Fibre  Fodder  Hair  Soil stabilization  Weaving

Agroforestry Uses: The plant helps to prevent erosion when it is growing along the banks of streams. Other Uses The tall green stems are fibrous, round, and hollow and can be up to 18mm wide at the base. Piri-piri stems have sometimes been used like reeds in basket-making and other crafts[ 318 ]. The stems are used for weaving into mats[ 46 ]. The fragrant, sweet-scented, tuberous roots are used for perfuming clothing etc[ 46 ]. Cyperus articulatus is largely pastured by cattle when nothing else is available.

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Grows naturally from the warm temperate zone through to the tropics. Probably requires a moist to wet soil. A tropical plant. It grows in shallow water. It grows in damp soils along river banks. It is damaged by frost or drought. Freshwater but it can grow in slightly salty soils. It grows between 2-1,700 m above sea level. It grows in wet grass savannah. It can grow in arid places.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Division.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cyperus articulates or commonly known as Piripiri or Jointed Flatsedge. Also known as: Guinea rush, Jointed flatsedge, Priprioca, Piripiri, Aldrue, Bum-ane, Culeme, Entede, Kauju, Kolime, M'pofa, Mampufam Contumo, Mdulu, Mlulu, Modjote, Mussumarre, N'Buam, N'popa, N'ted, N'ten-tede, N'tende, Ndrauru, Tindzau, Umbuan, Umpopa, Untende, Ussoe.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

It is native to Africa, temperate and tropical Asia, Australia, north and south America and naturalized elsewhere. It is present throughout all Africa mainly the Western, South, Eastern and North Eastern regions. Widespread in Egypt where it is found in the Nile delta (Cairo), Nile valley, along the Mediterranean coast and Isthmic desert. Its distribution includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, Senegal; Cape Verde Islands (St. Antonio, St. Nicolao, St. Iago), Gambia, Sierra Leonne (River Bagru), Ghana (Accra, Ashanti), Niger Territory (confluence of the River Quorra and the River Tchadda), Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya (east side of the Albert Edward Nyanza, Mombasa). Also in Gabon; Lower Congo; Angola; Congo; Pungo Andongo; banks of the river Cuanza. South central- Congo; Monbuttu; by the river Sankuru: Usambara, Masheua, Kilimandjaro, lake Yipe. Native:Angola (Angola); Argentina; Bangladesh; Benin; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Botswana; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; Colombia; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; C™te d'Ivoire; Ecuador; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea (Equatorial Guinea (mainland)); Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Kenya; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Pakistan; RŽunion; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga); Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; United States; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Western Sahara; Yemen (North Yemen); Zambia

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Cyperus articulatus (Jointed Flatsedge) Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Cyperus aristatusBearded nutsedgePerennial1.5 7-10  LMNMWe202
Cyperus cephalotesBhada, Flat Sedges, Nut Sedges or Umbrella Sedge.Perennial0.3 10-12 FLMHNWeWa012
Cyperus distansSlender Cyperus, Piedmont flatsedgePerennial0.5 0-0  LMNMWe112
Cyperus esculentusTiger Nut, Yellow nutsedge, Nut GrassPerennial0.9 8-10 FLMHNMWe423
Cyperus fendlerianusFendler's FlatsedgePerennial1.5 -  LMNMWe202
Cyperus giganteusPiripiri, Mexican PapyrusPerennial1.5 9-11 FLMHNWeWa023
Cyperus longusGalingalePerennial1.2 6-9 FLMHNMWeWa213
Cyperus papyrusPapyrus. Papyrus sedgePerennial5.0 9-12 FLMHNWeWa222
Cyperus rotundusNut GrassPerennial0.6 0-0  LMNMWe332
Cyperus schweinitziiFlatsedge, Schweinitz's flatsedgePerennial0.8 0-0  LMNMWe202
Cyperus setigerusLean flatsedgePerennial1.0 0-0  LMNMWe202
Cyperus tegetiformis Perennial0.0 -  LMNMWe002
Cyperus textilisFlat sedge, Basket grass,Perennial1.5 9-12 FLMHFSNMWeWa004
Cyperus ustulatus Perennial1.2 -  LMNMWe002

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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