Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Annual or perennial herbs, often rhizomatous. Culms usually tufted, erect or spreading, terete to acutely angled or flattened. Leaves reduced to bladeless tubular sheaths often bearing a short erect apical mucro. Inflorescence a terminal, ebracteate, single spikelet, sometimes proliferating. Spikelet terete or angular, rarely compressed, few- to many-flowered; rachilla persistent; glumes spirally arranged, sometimes subdistichous, caducous; flowers bisexual; hypogynous bristles 6–10, smooth or retrorsely or rarely antrorsely scabrous or toothed, sometimes reduced, rarely absent; stamens 1–3; style 2–3-fid, usually glabrous, articulated with the nut, the enlarged base persistent on nut. Nut trigonous or lenticular, obovoid, orbicular, or obpyriform, sometimes with a narrow neck just below the apex, crowned by the enlarged style-base.

About 150 species, cosmopolitan; about 30 species in Australia.

Some species are used for matting. Eleocharis dulcis is cultivated for its edible tubers ('Chinese Water Chestnut').

Source: Wilson, K.L. (1994). Cyperaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
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