Cyperus digitatus (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cyperus digitatus Roxb.

Family: Cyperaceae


Cyperus auricomus Sieber ex Spreng., C. elatus L. sensu Camus, C. venustus R. Br. sensu Nees.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: rumput dekeng (Javanese), rumput bunga satuan, rumput musang (general)
  • Malaysia: bunga sadaian rumput, rempara, rumput musiang (Peninsular)
  • Thailand: kok dok daeng (Ayutthaya), kok rang kaa, yaa rangkaa (Bangkok).


Pantropical, including South-East Asia, but rare in Africa. Also occurring in subtropical America, southern China, Taiwan and Australia.


The stems are woven into mats and baskets, e.g. in Indonesia. In Thailand they are made into roofs of poor quality. In Uganda leaves are used to treat coughs. In Sudan and Nigeria a special form of C. digitatus is used to prepare a perfume.


A perennial herb with a very short, erect, woody rhizome and tufted or solitary, smooth, trigonous stems 50-200 cm × 3-7 mm. Leaves few, flat to plicate, up to as long as the stem. Inflorescence umbel-like, up to 40 cm in diameter; involucral bracts 3-8, longer than inflorescence; primary rays 6-10, unequal, up to 30 cm long, secondary rays 2-3 cm long; spikes digitately arranged, 3-6 cm × 1-3 cm; spikelets spicately arranged, 8-24(-44)-flowered, 0.5-2 cm long. Fruit a nut, up to 1 mm × 0.5 mm, yellow-brown. C. digitatus is found on river banks, in swamps, bogs, wet-rice fields and other open wet locations, up to 800 m altitude. In Java it flowers year-round. Natural propagation is by fruits which are dispersed by water and birds. In Indonesia C. digitatus is considered a weed of minor importance in rice and can be controlled by chemical means.

Selected sources

6, 20, 39, 47, 102, 108, 158, 160, 162.


M. Brink, P.C.M. Jansen & C.H. Bosch