Cyperus involucratus Rottb.

Umbrella Sedge, Flat Sedge, Umbrella Palm

Family: Cyperaceae

Genus: Cyperus

Category: Grass

Zones: 7 to 11

Size: 4 to 6' tall

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Likes a moist location, usually found along rivers or lakes. Grows quickly to 4' tall. Propagate by division or by rooting cuttings. Cut an umbrella from the plant with about 8" of stem. Root it upside down in water with the stalk sticking out. Roots will quickly grow from the umbrella and a new stem will grow up from the base. Pot up to soil once the new stem is well out of the water, removing the old stem and cutting back the old umbrella leaves. Winter hardiness is questionable. Many sources list it as zone 9 or 10, but I constantly hear of people in zone 7b to 8a overwintering it outside and I have consistently done so myself.


Native to Africa.

Published in Descriptiones Plantarum Rariorum 22 in 1772.

Accepted by ARS-Grin, Tropicos and ITIS but PlantList shows it as a synonym of Cyperus alternifolius subsp. flabelliformis (Rottb.) Kük.

Synonyms: Cyperus flabelliformis Rottb.

My Experience: 

I purchased a 4" pot from Santa Rosa in April 2010 and planted it in the bed by the pool fountain. It grew rapidly and was way too tall so in spring 2011 I moved it to the Pool Lawn Border where it has flourised and by summer 2012, after a mild winter, it was almost 6' tall. I have also rooted it from cuttings in water (upside-down) which is, for me at least, a lot of fun.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner