Scientific: Cyperus alternifolius
Common: umbrella plant
Family: Cyperaceae
Origin: Madagascar

Pronounciation: SIGH-PER-us al-ter-ni-FOL-e-us

Hardiness zones
8-9, 12-24
USDA 8 (freezes to ground in winter but recovers quickly in spring) - 11

Landscape Use: Mesic landscape design themes around pools, ponds, water features, dry washes, tropical settings, containers, needs root restriction to limit spreading

Form & Character: Herbaceous perennial, upright and stiff with umbrella top, marsh plant suggests water.

Growth Habit: Upright and clumping to 3 feet in height.

Foliage/Texture: Basal foliage nothing more than a reddish brown sheath. Stems, green, obtusely triangular to rounded, finely striate; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Yellow-green bracts, 4 to 12 inches long at terminal ends of stems, inflorescence a compound umbel with short raylet spikes emanating from above bracts. Fruit a small dull brown achene.

Seasonal Color: None

Temperature: Shoots damaged by freezing temperatures, but plant recovers quickly in spring.

Light: Partial shade best

Soil: Tolerant of, in fact prefers damp to wet soil.

Watering: Regular

Pruning: Shear to ground every 2 years to rejuvenate and to remove build up of thatch.

Propagation: Division of clumps

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: This is a great plant to use around ponds, pools, or fountains or to suggest the presence of water in the landscape. Widely naturalized in tropical areas. Cultivated for over 2,000 years. The cultivar 'Gracilis' (dwarf umbrella plant) is smaller, more fine textured, and rarely flowers.