Common Name
Cyperus Sedge

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Cyperus sp.




Whole Plant



Location On Campus

This Cyperus trachysanthos is located in front of the Alice Knapp Lounge next to Keawe Gym.

Natural Habitat

Cyperus trachysanthos is endemic to the following Hawaiian Islands: Ni‘ihau, Kaua‘i, O‘ahu (Diamond Head Crater), Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i. It is found in moist areas such as ponds or seasonal marshes.

Cultural Information

Cyperus trachysanthos is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. One type of cyperus, makaloa, can be used to weave colorful mats which are from the island of Ni‘ihau. The mats that are made out of the makaloa are considered to be the finest sleeping mats in Polynesia.

Plant Description


  • Fibrous roots


  • 60 cm high
  • Grooved on the faces smooth below the umbel (an umbel is the rounded flower cluster in which the single flower stalks rise from the same point)
  • Herbaceous stem


  • Green and flexible
  • Pale and glossy
  • About the same size as the stem which is 60 cm
  • Green, linear
  • Measures 1.5-2.5 mm in diameter
  • Leafy at base
  • Simple leaf
  • Generally folded
  • Leaves are generally sharp along the edges (around margins and keel)


  • A grain
  • Small and dry
  • Grows in clusters near the bottom of the stem of the leaf


  • Can be grown in or around water features
  • Thrives in full sun and damp soil
  • Great for dry floral arrangements

Interesting Facts:

  • This plant is endangered and close to extinction

Web Site Links

 Hamakua Marsh

This site can be viewed to see a picture of the cyperus plant seeds.

Plants Profile

This site can be used to find more information on this plant, such as where in the world this plant is found and more.



 Abbott, Isabella Aiona. Lä‘au Hawai‘i Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants. Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Bishop Museum Press, 1992.

 Herbst, Derral R., S. H Sohmer and Warren L. Wagner. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‘i Volume 2. University of Hawai‘i Press, Honolulu, 1990.

 Hillebrand, William. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands. New York, Hafner Pub. Co., 1965.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Barboza, Rick, Web Manager. 6 Dec. 2002. Honolulu Star Bulletin.20 Mar.2003 < html>

 St. John, Harold. List of Flowering Plants in Hawai‘i. Hong Kong, Cathay Press Limited., 1973

Russell, Christa. Recovery Plan for Multi Island Plants. Oregon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service., 1999.

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