Cyperus prolifer

Common Name(s): Dwarf papyrus

Non-Native to Florida

Origin: Africa1

This species appears on the following legally prohibited plant lists

CATEGORY II on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s (FLEPPC) 2015 List of Invasive Plant Species

UF-IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Download a recognition card (PDF) from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know2

Download a page (PDF) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition1

Dwarf papyrus is commonly sold as an ornamental for use in water gardens, similar to papyrus (Cyperus papyrus L.), and false papyrus (Cyperus involucratus Poir.). This species spreads vegetatively, simply by leaning over. New daughter plants grow in the inflorescence; as the new shoots become heavier, the mother plant leans over, eventually reaching the mud whereupon the daughter plants attach, grow and spread.

In central Florida, this sedge apparently has escaped from cultivation and is found growing in floating mats and along margins of limesink lakes (Wunderlin, 2003).


Herbaceous, perennial. Grows in tufts or clumps; rhizomatous. Culms (stalks/stems) are 20–100 cm (8–39 in) long by 2–6 mm (0.08–0.25 in) wide; soft, glabrous.


Blades reduced to sheath.


Inflorescence rays from 100–250 in number, 5–16 cm (2–6 in) long; spikelets 1–30, linear, ellipsoid, reddish brown.


Achenes brown, obovoid (0.4 x 0.2 mm) surfaces finely reticulate (latticed).

Ecological threat

FLEPPC Category II – Invasive exotics that have increased in abundance or frequency but have not yet altered Florida plant communities to the extent shown by Category I species.



Text from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know – Recognition Cards 2

For brief control information, see Efficacy of Herbicide Active Ingredients Against Aquatic Weeds by K. Langeland, M. Netherland, and W. Haller.




1. Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition,
by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 257. 2008.

2. Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know – Recognition Cards,
by A. Richard and V. Ramey. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 431. 2007.

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