Egyptian papyrus, or Cyperus papyrus, is a tall, aquatic plant with no leaves and only a grass-like clump of green stems possessing a dense cluster of thin bright green stems at the top of woody triangular stems.
The clusters resemble a feather duster in the young plant.
The plant tolerates temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees(F) or 20-30 degrees (C), up to zone 8 and prefers part sun to part shade. It has become invasive in Florida, forming vast stands in swampy areas, stream banks and shallow lakes in Africa, but is also a nesting site for birds of many species that use the flowering heads to build their nests.
Ecological studies have centered around the plants' growth rate and ability to use and recyle nutrients. It has been found that papyrus swamp habitats provide an important habitat for many endangered birds, especially in Africa.
The people of Africa harvest the plant using it to make items such as baskets, hats, mats that are sold locally.
The plants rhizomes prevent soil erosion, trap contaminants, and in a study done in 1997 it was found that the plant is useful in wastewater treatment by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus by fifty percent in a matter of months.
In the colder climates of our world, Egyptian papyrus should be planted in pots, placed in the pond and then brought in for the winter.
By planting in pots, you are also keeping the plant from becoming invasive in warmer climates. Be aware that the plant grows tall and can crowd a small pond, especially if you are keeping fish.
The plant is a gorgeous one rich in history and tradition, adding a striking focal point and conversation piece to your pond.