CYPERACEAE - Sedge Family

Herbs, often with triangular stems, stems solid, mostly found in wet areas

Leaves 3-ranked with closed sheath, blades grass-like

Flowers bisexual or unisexual, inconspicuous, perianth reduced to bristles or scales or absent, infl. various. Insect-pollinated but some members of the genus Rhynchospora (formerly Dichromena) have white bracts that attract pollinators.

In Carex, flower enclosed in a saclike structure (perigynium)


Fruit an achene or nutlet

70 genera, 4000 species worldwide

Major genera
Carex - 2000 species, northern temperate, largest genus of flowering plants
Cyperus - mostly tropical
Rhynchospora

Economic uses:
Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)
water chestnuts (Eleocharis tuberosa)
weeds - nut grass (Cyperus rotundus)
Ornamentals
Hay and fodder - inferior to grasses and legumes