Cyperus L.

Cyperus metzii (Hochst. ex Steud.) Mattf. & Kük.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Africa to Indo-China, Queensland.


Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type: Guinea, Thonning s.n. [– possibly 547 but that is in different ink] (B, holo.)
Morphology General Habit
Annual or short-lived herb, 6–37 cm tall, with slender root-system, lacking rhizomes or stolons.
Morphology Culms
Culms 2–36 cm long, 0.5–0.8 mm wide, trigonous or terete near base, glabrous
Morphology Leaves
Leaf blade linear, flat or slightly channelled, 4–20 cm long, 1–2.5 mm wide, scabrid on margins and midrib Leaf sheath pinkish to red, 1–6 cm long. Leaves up to 20 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts leaf-like, spreading or reflexed, 3(–4), lowermost (2.5–)6–15 cm cm long, with conspicuous transparent wings near base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a small sessile irregular head of a single spike.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets many, broadly ovoid, 2.5–4 mm long, 1.3–1.8 mm wide, 1-flowered with 2 glumes and an elongated stalk with 2 minute bracts.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes translucent to whitish or yellow, often with minute reddish dots, with green keel, ovate, 2–2.9 mm long, keel winged with coarse teeth, apex acuminate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 2
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet dark brown, flattened subcircular, 1.3–1.5 mm long, 1.2–1.3 mm wide, minutely papillose
Fig. 47: 5-7, p314
Weed of cultivation (maize, sorghum, yam), stream-banks and lake-shores, open grassland; 700–1200 m
Least concern (LC)
Range: From Senegal to Ethiopia and Mozambique; Madagascar, India Flora districts: U3 U4 T1 T4 T6 T8


Cyperaceae, Miss S. S. Hooper. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3:2. 1972

Morphology General Habit
A weak, leafy annual
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Pyramidal, spinulose heads of few, large spikelets above the broad bract bases
A widespread weed of sandy soil.

Native to:

Angola, Assam, Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, Congo, East Himalaya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Queensland, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Transcaucasus, Uganda, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Introduced into:

Alabama, Brazil Northeast, Florida, Réunion, Windward Is.

Cyperus metzii (Hochst. ex Steud.) Mattf. & Kük. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jul 1, 1995 Nascimento, M.S.B. [232], Piauí Kyllinga squamulata K000189177
Mar 1, 1887 Schimper [1457], Ethiopia Kyllinga squamulata K000416298
Jaeger, P. [88], Mali Kyllinga squamulata K000391930
Demange [30], Mali Kyllinga squamulata K000391933
Jaeger, P. [67], Mali Kyllinga squamulata K000391931
Pickersgill, B. [RU72227], Ceará Kyllinga squamulata K000189176
Chevalier, A. [2485], Mali Kyllinga squamulata K000391932

First published in H.G.A.Engler (ed.), Pflanzenr., IV, 20(101): 25 (1935)

Not accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Simpson, D.A. (2007). World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges: 1-765. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Kyllinga squamulata.]
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Kyllinga squamulata.]


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
  • Barger, T.W. & al. (2012). New and noteworthy records for the flora of Alabama Castanea 77: 257-269.
  • Barry, J. P. & Celles, J.S. (1991). Flore de Mauritanie 2: 360-550. Centre Regional de Documentation Pedagogique, Nice.
  • Boulvert, Y. (1977). Catalogue de la Flore de Centrafrique 2(2): 1-94. ORSTOM, Bangui.
  • Browning, J. & al. (2020). Flora Zambesiaca 14: 1-455. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Costa, S.M., Prata, A.P. & Alves, M. (2012). Kyllinga (Cyperaceae) do estado de Sergipe, Brasil Rodriguésia; Revista do Instituto de Biologia Vegetal, Jardim Botânico e Estaçao Biologica do Itatiaya 63: 795-802.
  • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Hoenselaar, K., Verdcourt, B. & Beentje, H. (2010). Cyperaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-466.
  • Kumar, S. (2012). Herbaceous flora of Jaunsar-Bawar (Uttarkhand), India: enumerations Phytotaxonomy 12: 33-56.
  • Lye, K.A. & Thery, P. (2012). Flore du Gabon 44: 1-230. Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • Marais, W. & Araujo, A.C. (2018). Flore des Mascareignes 202: 1-99. IRD Éditions, MSIRI, RBG-Kew, Paris.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2010). Flora of China 23: 1-515. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.