Cyperus odoratus (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cyperus odoratus L.

Family: Cyperaceae


Cyperus ferax Rich., Torulinium ferax (Rich.) Hamilt., T. odoratum (L.) Hooper.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: rorisan (Sumatra)
  • Philippines: biliran (Samar-Leyte Bisaya), pulak-galau (Subanon).


Widely distributed in warmer regions of the world. Occurring throughout South-East Asia but nowhere common.


The stems are used in Sulawesi for the production of small mats. In East Africa they are also made into mats. In Brazil C. odoratus is used medicinally as an antispasmodic and stomachic. In Peru crushed rhizomes are taken as an aphrodisiac.


An annual herb with fibrous roots and stout, trigonous, smooth stems 20-100 cm × 6 mm, growing solitarily or 2-3 together. Leaves subcoriaceous, flat, up to 12 mm wide. Inflorescence umbel-like, 5-25 cm in diameter; involucral bracts 6-8, up to 50 cm long; primary rays 7-12, up to 20 cm long; spikes with 20-30(-60) spikelets; spikelets spicately arranged, 4-20-flowered, 5-25 mm × 1 mm, at maturity breaking up into 1-fruit segments. Fruit a nut, trigonous-cylindrical, up to 2 mm × 0.7 mm, grey-brown-black. C. odoratus is widespread and very variable and thus has been described under numerous names. It is found in wet locations: marshes, wet-rice fields and along river banks, usually at low altitudes, but sometimes up to 2100 m. In Java it flowers year-round. Natural propagation is by fruits which are dispersed by water and birds. In Indonesia it is considered a weed of minor importance in rice, where it can be controlled manually.

Selected sources

6, 47, 158, 162, 197.


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