Cyperus polystachyos

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Common name: Manyspike Flatsedge [1], Coast Flatsedge [2]

Cyperus polystachyos
Cyperus polystachyos AFP.jpg
Photo by the Atlas of Florida Plants Database
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Moncots
Order: Cyperales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Cyperus
Species: C. polystachyos
Binomial name
Cyperus polystachyos
Natural range of Cyperus polystachyos from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: C. polystachyos Rottbøll var. texensis (Torrey) Fernald; C. polystachyos Rottbøll var. paniculatus (Rottbøll) C.B. Clarke; C. microdontus Torrey; C. paniculatus Rottbøll; C. odoratus.[3]

Varieties: none.[3]


C. polystachyos is an annual/perennial graminoid of the Cyperaceae family.[1] Leaves are simple and alternate, with linear shape and parallel leaf venation. Flowers are unisexual and bisexual, and developing fruit is an achene. Flowers are borne in a single dense cluster that have linear-ovately shaped spikelets, and 2 stamens. Fruit is dark to light brown in color and develops between summer and early fall. Roots are fibrous, and overall plant can reach a height between 1 and 3 feet.[4]


C. polystachyos is pantropical can be found along the southeastern coast from Texas to Maine, Hawaii, the Pacific Belt, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.[1][2]



C. polystachyos proliferates in low fields, ditches and marshes, as well as warm temperate environments. [2] It is also present in sandy areas. [5] It is listed as a facultative wetland species, meaning it commonly can be found in wetlands but can also sometimes be found in non-wetlands.[1] It is most commonly found in wet to mesic prairies.[6]

Cyperus polystachyos is an indicator species for the Calcareous Savannas community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[7]

Associated species include Echinochola walteri, Leptochloa fusca, Alternanthera sp., Bidens sp., Commelina sp., Ludwigia sp., Sacciolepis sp., Cyperus strigosus, C. surinamensis, C. lanceolatus, Magnolia virginiana, Salix caroliniana, Morella cerifera, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus virginiana, Quercus laevis, Osmunda regalis, Blechnum serrulatum, Typha sp., Persicaria densiflora, Sesbania versicaria, Lindernia crustacea, and Phynchospora macrostachya.[5]


C. polystachyos has been observed to flower between June and September.[8] It is also known to flower in October additionally.[2]

Seed bank and germination

Seeds of C. polystachyos were found in a study to persist in abundance in the seed bank after a fire disturbance.[9] Another study found their seeds to be in highest abundance in the seed bank at low dunes, rather than other dunes or marshes.[10]

An early 2000s study on seed bank composition found C. polystachyos to be one of five Cyperus species that were most common in both restoration and flatwoods soils; these species dominated restoration soils, accounting for 83% of new seedlings. However, the species did not appear in flatwoods seedbanks.[11]

Fire ecology

C. polystachyos is not fire resistant, and has no fire tolerance.[1] However, it is commonly found in calcareous savannas that are fire dependent ecosystems.[12] A study also found seeds of C. polystachyos to persist in the seed bank after fire disturbance.[9]

Herbivory and toxicology

This sedge is not known to have any foraging value.[13] However, a study found flatsedges, including C. polystachyos to be consumed mostly by wigeons (Anas americana) and teals, but other ducks as well.[14]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

C. polystachyos is listed as endangered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy Office of Natural Lands Management, and as extirpated by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. [1]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 USDA Plant Database
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  4. [[1]] Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Accessed: April 25, 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 URL: Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, R. Kral, Gil Nelson, R.K. Godfrey, Gwynn W. Ramsey, R.S. Mitchell, S.W. Leonard, Leo L. Minasian Jr., J. Sincock, William P. Adams, Paul O. Schallert, Grady W. Reinert, O. Lakela, A.F. Clewell, Cecil R. Slaughter, Richard D. Houk, Chas. C. Deam, Robert J. Lemaire, Sidney McDaniel, Jimmy Meeks, T. MacClendon, K. MacClendon, Richard Carter, John B. Nelson, Leah Garris, Frank Lee, R.A. Norris, Robert L. Lazor, Robt. Blaisdell, R.F. Christensen, William R. Stimson, S.M. Tracy, L.J. Brass, James D. Ray, Jackie Patman, Allen G. Shuey, Curtis R. Jackson, Jane Brockmann, Don Blake, George R. Cooley, Richard J. Eaton, Jean J. Wooten, Wm. G. Atwater, D.L. Martin, S.T. Cooper, J.P. Gillespie, H. Kurz, P.L. Redfearn Jr. States and counties: Wakulla County Florida, Franklin County Florida, Martin County Florida, Leon County Florida, Gadsden County Florida, Madison County Florida, Taylor County Florida, Escambia County Florida, Collier County Florida, Levy County Florida, Putnam County Florida, Sumter County Florida, Brevard County Florida, Glades County Florida, Seminole County Florida, Citrus County Florida, Manatee County Florida, Hillsborough County Florida, St. Johns County Florida, Polk County Florida, Lee County Florida, Santa Rosa County Florida, Charlotte County Florida, Indian River County Florida, Bay County Florida, Marion County Florida, Nassau County Florida, Osceola County Florida, Calhoun County Florida, Jefferson County Florida, Madison County Florida, Holmes County Florida, Gulf County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, Jackson County Florida, Richland County South Carolina, Lafayette County Florida, Glynn County Georgia, Palm Beach County Florida, Broward County Florida, Highlands County Florida, Walton County Florida, De Soto County Florida, Duval County, Hernando County Florida, Monroe County Florida, Suwannee County Florida, Pasco County Florida, Dade County Florida, Hamilton County Florida, Thomas County Georgia, Camden County Georgia, Clinch County Georgia, Decatur County Georgia, Lowndes County Georgia.
  6. Orzell, S. L. and E. L. Bridges (2006). "Floristic composition of the south-central Florida dry prairie landscape." Florida Ecosystem 1(3): 123-133.
  7. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  8. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 18 MAY 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 Kalmbacher, R., et al. (2005). "Seeds obtained by vacuuming the soil surface after fire compared with soil seedbank in a flatwoods plant community." Native Plants Journal 6: 233-241.
  10. Looney, P. B. and D. J. Gibson (1995). "The Relationship between the Soil Seed Bank and Above-Ground Vegetation of a Coastal Barrier Island." Journal of Vegetation Science 6(6): 825-836.
  11. Jenkins, Amy Miller. Seed banking and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in pasture restoration in central Florida. University of Florida. 2003.
  12. Carr, S. C., et al. (2010). "A Vegetation Classification of Fire-Dependent Pinelands of Florida." Castanea 75(2): 153-189.
  13. Hilman, J. B. (1964). "Plants of the Caloosa Experimental Range " U.S. Forest Service Research Paper SE-12
  14. Landers, J. L., et al. (1976). "Duck Foods in Managed Tidal Impoundments in South Carolina." The Journal of Wildlife Management 40(4): 721-728.