Cyperus iria (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cyperus iria L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 1: 45 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: babawangan (Sundanese), rumput jekeng kungit (Javanese), rumput silupak (Sumatra)
  • Philippines: sud-sud, alinang (Bikol), okokiang (Bontok)
  • Thailand: kok huadaeng (Singburi), yaa kok saai (Nakhon Sawan), yaa kok lek (Ang Tong)
  • Vietnam: cói gạo.


From Iran, Afghanistan, China and Japan to Australia, also in eastern Africa; common throughout Indo-China, Thailand and Malesia. Introduced and naturalized in the south-eastern United States and the West Indies.


In India the plant is used as tonic, stimulant, stomachic, febrifuge, astringent, and for amenorrhoea. In Vietnam, the whole plant is used to treat rheumatism, to regulate menstruation; the rhizomes are used as a diuretic. It is sometimes used as fodder.


An annual or sometimes perennial herb with fibrous, yellowish-red roots, stem (5-)15-50(-80) cm long; leaves 3-6(-8) mm wide, flat or channelled, scabrid on the margins in the upper part; inflorescence simple or compound, involucral bracts 3-5(-7), up to 40 cm long, primary rays 3-5(-8), very unequal, up to 10(-18) cm long, spikelets spicately arranged, 6-20(-24)-flowered; stamens 2-3, stigmas 3, minute; fruit triquetrous, obovoid or ellipsoid, shining dark brown to black. C. iria occurs up to 700(-1200) m altitude in open wet locations and is a characteristic weed in lowland rice fields, but it may also occur as a weed in vegetables, maize, sugar cane, groundnut and soya bean. It also occurs on roadsides and river banks.

Selected sources

202, 614, 722, 1178, 1465.


Nguyen Khac Khoi