Sedge

Sedge - Cyperales cyperaceae

 
 

Identification & Description:
Sedges make up the family Cyperaceae. Bulrushes belong to the genus Scirpus. The paper reed is classified as Cyperus papyrus. The sedge species used for hay and packing materials are classified in the genus Carex, and cotton grass in the genus Eriophorum.

Sedge is a common name for members of the Cyperaceae, a family of grasslike and rushlike herbs found in all parts of the world, especially in marshes of subarctic and temperate zones. The name sedge is also used specifically for species of the genus Carex of the same family. Sedges differ from true grasses in having solid, angular (usually triangular) stems. Most are perennial, reproducing by rhizomes. Some sedges are woven into mats and chair seats, and a few provide coarse hay. The pith of Cyperus papyrus was the source of the papyrus of ancient Egypt and other Mediterranean countries.

Bulrushes, often called clubrushes, are sedges of the genus Scirpus; various other similar plants are also called bulrushes. The bulrushes in which the infant Moses was hidden (Ex. 2.8) were probably papyrus. The Oriental water chestnut ( Eleocharis tuberosa ) is cultivated extensively among the Chinese for its edible tubers. An unrelated Asian aquatic plant, Trapa natans, also called water chestnut (or water caltrop or hornnut) and sometimes also used for food, is now naturalized in the United States. Many genera of the sedge family have indigenous and abundant species in America. Sedge is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Cyperaceae.

Sedge, common name for a family of grasslike flowering plants with characteristically triangular stems. The family is worldwide in distribution but is particularly abundant in wet, marshy areas of the temperate and subarctic zones, where it is ecologically important in binding and stabilizing soils.The family contains about 115 genera and 3600 species.

Members of the sedge family typically possess a rhizome, a rootlike underground stem out of which grows a tuft of basal leaves. The leaf bases expand into sheaths that entirely close around the stem. The stem itself is usually unbranched and leafless, with a cluster of inconspicuous flowers at its tip. Each flower is borne in a single bract (modified leaf) and has either no perianth (floral envelope) or one reduced to a series of scales or bristles rather than showy petals. Sedges are generally distinguished from grasses by their triangular stems and by leaves with closed sheaths.

The family is of some economic importance. Stems and leaves of many genera, including the bulrush, are used for weaving mats, baskets, and hats, as well as in papermaking. The paper reed was the source of ancient Egyptian papyrus. One genus in the sedge family includes species used for hay and packing materials. Cotton grass is used in pillow stuffing.

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