Cyperus compressus (annual sedge)
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Cyperus compressus L. (1753)
Preferred Common Name
- annual sedge
Other Scientific Names
- Chlorocyperus compressus Palla
- Cyperus brachiatus Poir
- Cyperus humilis Llanos (non Kunth)
- Cyperus meyenil Nees
- Cyperus pectiniformis R. & S.
International Common Names
- English: hedgehog cyperus; sedge
- French: souchet comprimé
Local Common Names
- India: mothi
- Japan: kugugayatsuri
- Malaysia: rumput tiga sagi
- CYPCP (Cyperus compressus)
- CYPHU (Cyperus humilis)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Cyperaceae
- Genus: Cyperus
- Species: Cyperus compressus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page C. compressus is usually included in the section Cyperus of the wider genus Cyperus, characterized by having 3-fid style and persistent rachilla (axis) of the fruiting spikelet. It has more recently been included by Haines and Lye (1983) in the sub-genus Xerocarpus, on the grounds of the digitate arrangement of its spikelets, but there have been no changes to its name and it is always treated as a Cyperus species, in contrast to species falling into other sections, for example Killynga, which are variably known as Cyperus or Killynga.
DescriptionTop of page C. compressus is an erect glabrous, caespitose annual (sometimes biannual), 5-75 cm high. Its roots are tufted, fine and numerous. The stems are erect, tufted, slender or rigidulous, glabrous, compressed, trigonous and 0.5-2.0 mm thick. The base is covered with red-purple, usually entire and non-fibrous, loose, open leaf sheaths. The leaves are as long as or shorter than the stem. They are subcoriaceous, flat, 1.5-4.0 mm, broad, greyish-green, narrowly linear and taper gradually to a fine acuminate apex.
The inflorescence has umbellate spikes, some of the rays (usually 3-4) are well developed and up to 8 cm long. Occasionally, all the spikelets are grouped as a sessile umbel. There are usually three or four leaf-like, unequal brackets which are longer than or as long as the primary rays of the umbel. The spikelets are strongly compressed laterally and there are 4-7 in each ultimate condensed umbellate spike. These are 1.5-3.5 cm long, 3-5 mm wide and grey-green, streaked with crimson. The rachis or rachilla are very much flattened and with hyaline wings (in fresh specimens). The two or three lowest glumes are small, hyaline and empty. The flowering glumes are broadly ovate when spread out, tightly imbricating, 3.0-4.5 mm long, mucronate, pale yellowish or brownish, several-nerved, broadly scariously margined, mucro-stout and sometimes excurved. There are three stamens with anthers 0.7 mm long which have an ovate-rotundate, reddish crest. The style is long with branches 3-4 mm long, divided about halfway down. The nuts are shortly stipitate, obovioid, broadly triquetrous, 1.5-1.7 mm long with three prominent angles and three concave sides. They are dark brown or blackish-brown, apiculate and glossy.
C. compressus flowers and fruits during May to December in eastern India and during July to October in North West India.
C. compressus exhibits morphometric and chromosomal variation (Mehra and Sachdeva, 1971; Sanyal, 1972; Rath and Ratnaik, 1978; Bir et al., 1982, 1988, 1992; Cheema, 1991; Cheema and Bir, 1996).
DistributionTop of page C. compressus has very wide distribution in all warm countries of the world except Australia (Clarke, 1894; Riley, 1925; Kern, 1974; Rao and Verma, 1982). It grows in tropical Africa, Asia and the USA (Bhandari, 1978).
The distribution map includes records based on specimens of C. compressus from the collections in the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh, India (DD) and the Botanical Survey of India, Northern Circle, Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh, India (BSD).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Brunei Darussalam||Present||Waterhouse, 1993|
|Cambodia||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993|
|China||Present||Herbarium, DD; Holm et al., 1979|
|-Tibet||Present||Cai et al., 2005|
|India||Widespread||Clarke, 1894; Holm et al., 1979|
|-Andhra Pradesh||Present||Clarke, 1894|
|-Arunachal Pradesh||Present||Rao and Verma, 1982|
|-Assam||Present||Rao and Verma, 1982|
|-Dadra and Nagar Haveli||Present||Duthie, 1960|
|-Haryana||Present||Clarke, 1894; Duthie, 1960|
|-Himachal Pradesh||Widespread||Collet, 1971; Herbarium, DD|
|-Indian Punjab||Widespread||Sharma and Bir, 1978; Meenakshi and Sharma, 1985|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Herbarium, DD|
|-Karnataka||Present||Ramaswamy and Razi, 1973|
|-Madhya Pradesh||Present||Singhai, 1954|
|-Maharashtra||Widespread||Herbarium, DD; Cook, 1908|
|-Meghalaya||Present||Rao and Verma, 1982|
|-Nagaland||Present||Clarke, 1894; Cook, 1908|
|-Odisha||Widespread||Haines, 1924; Herbarium, DD|
|-Rajasthan||Widespread||Bhandari, 1978; Sharma and Tiagi, 1979|
|-Sikkim||Present||Clarke, 1894; Cook, 1908|
|-Tamil Nadu||Widespread||Fischer, 1957; Matthew, 1981|
|-Uttar Pradesh||Widespread||Herbarium, DD; Duthie, 1960|
|-West Bengal||Widespread||Bennet, 1979|
|Indonesia||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993|
|-Java||Present||Backer & Bakhuizen van den Brink, 1968|
|Japan||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Malaysia||Widespread||Herbarium, DD; Ridley, 1925; Waterhouse, 1993|
|Myanmar||Present||Herbarium, DD; Waterhouse, 1993|
|Philippines||Widespread||Kern, 1974; Waterhouse, 1993|
|Sri Lanka||Present||Cook, 1908|
|Taiwan||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Vietnam||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993|
|Benin||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Botswana||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Egypt||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Ghana||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Guinea||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Kenya||Present||Haines and Lye, 1983|
|Liberia||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Mauritius||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Mozambique||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Nigeria||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Senegal||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Sierra Leone||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Sudan||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Tanzania||Present||Haines and Lye, 1983|
|Togo||Present||Hooper and Napper, 1972|
|Zimbabwe||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|USA||Widespread||Boissier, 1884; Cook, 1908|
|-Hawaii||Present||St. John, 1973|
|-Kentucky||Present||Mears and Libby, 1995|
|-Louisiana||Present||Bollich et al., 2002|
|-North Carolina||Present||Herbarium, DD|
Central America and Caribbean
|Costa Rica||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Honduras||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Suriname||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Fiji||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Micronesia, Federated states of||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
HabitatTop of page C. compressus is a pantropical species, growing well during summer and rainy months in a variety of moist places, irrigated fields, along water channels, ditches, stream banks, pond margins, damp grassy lawns, etc. It occurs on sandy, alluvial and clay soils, occasionally up to 1200 m in Sri Lanka (Collett, 1971).
Habitat ListTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page C. compressus is an annual weed of waste places and rice fields, often growing in medium-to-large patches. It propagates through seeds and very rarely through rhizome fragmentation. C. compressus flowers and fruits during May to December in eastern India, and during July to October in North West India.
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page C. compressus is a host to a number of fungi (Bilgrami et al., 1979, 1981, 1991). The following pathogens have been recorded on C. compressus in India. In Habbel, Mysore and Karnataka, Cintractia minor affected the inflorescence of C. compressus (Mundkur and Thirumalachar, 1952). Ramachar et al. (1978) reported the incidence of Puccinia cyperi-tegatiformis on the leaves of C. compressus in Rathjendra Nagar, Hydrabad and Andhra Pradesh. Incidence of Puccinia romagnoliana on the leaves of C. compressus was recorded by Sydow and Butler (1901). Physoderma schroeteri was reported causing leaf spots on living leaves of C. compressus from Banaras, Uttar Pradesh by Pavgi and Thirumalachar (1954). Piricularia higginsii var. poonensis was recorded as infecting the leaves of C. compressus in Poona, Karnataka by Thirumslachar et al. (1956). This fungus also infected the rice plant. All these diseases occur during the rainy months.
ImpactTop of page C. compressus is a very prominent weed of rice in India (throughout the northern plains), Pakistan, Bangladesh and throughout South-East Asian countries. It also grows in fields with young crops of maize and sugarcane.
In the Punjab District, India, the rice crop has become second only to wheat in economic terms. In Patiala District, Bir and Sidhu (1974) made extensive observations on the distribution, frequency and lifespan of weeds in rice fields. They concluded that C. compressus, which grows along the rice field margins as well as within the fields themselves, attains 80% frequency of occurrence along with nine other weed species. The distribution pattern and density of C. compressus was such that it started appearing 20 days after the rice was planted and maximum numbers of C. compressus were found between 20-40 days, when rice plants were in the early stages of growth and had not formed full tillers. Maximum competition to rice crop by weeds was offered during the 40-day growth period. During the first 20-30 days of planting, five weed plants were seen per unit area of the field. This declined to four plants per unit area after 40-50 days and three plants per unit area from 50-90 days. C. compressus was amongst six chief weeds which affected the yield of rice in Patiala District: the others are C. bulbosus, C. iria, Echinochloa colonum, E. crus-galli and Eragrostis diarrhena. These weeds together constituted 80-90% of the weed population in the majority of the rice fields in the surveyed area.
As C. compressus is rarely, if ever, the only weed in a crop, there is no information on its direct effect on crop yield, but it is assumed that there must be competition for nutrients which contributes to the total damage caused by weeds. There is also some possibility of damage caused by pests and diseases for which C. compressus is an alternative host (see Natural Enemies).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page The genus Cyperus in the broader sense has about 650 species, while the section Cyperus, to which C. compressus belongs, has at least 300. It is therefore inevitable that there will be some difficulties in identifying C. compressus with certainty, especially as the great majority of species have a superficially similar appearance. Key characteristics of the species which are of greatest help include the tufted annual habit, large, flattened green and reddish-brown spikelets in almost strictly digitate arrangement and three stigmas and triangular nutlet.
Many species in the section Pycreus (often known as the Pycreus species) such as C. macrostaachyos (Pycreus macrostachyos) and C. polystachyos (P. polystachyos) have the annual habit and comparably flattened spikelets and look rather similar, but they only have two stigmas, flattened nutlets and the spikelets are arranged in spikes rather than digitately. C. mundtii (P. mundtii) has similar-looking spikelets but is a rhizomatous perennial.
Within the section Cyperus, confusion is possible with C. sphaelatus which has s similar habit and appearance, but the spikelets are narrower (up to 2.5 mm wide only, versus 3-5 mm in C. compressus). C. procerus has spikelets up to 3.5 mm wide but this is a perennial with stolons.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
Control of weed plants of C. compressus in rice fields is not difficult. During the mulching and puddling operations to prepare clean fields before transplanting rice, all the weeds should be uprooted and destroyed. Standing water in rice fields keeps down C. compressus to a great extent. It is only when the rice field dries up due to rain failure or non-availability of irrigation water, that the weeds start coming up. Farmers can use agricultural machinery or hand weeding to remove C. compressus.
Integrated Pest Management
In rice, the usual practices recommended are a combination of transplantation spacing (tall varieties placed far apart rather than dwarf varieties), hand weeding and chemical controls.
There are few specific herbicides used for control of C. compressus in rice, but those controlling other sedge weeds may be used (Moody, 1982; Ampong-Nyarko and De Datta, 1991). In perennial crops in Malaysia, methylarsonic acid plus 2,4-D has been used (Kostermans et al., 1987).
ReferencesTop of page
Ahmed S, 1954. Grasses and Sedges of Lahore District. Lahore, Pakistan: Punjab University Press.
Bennett SSR, 1979. Flora of Howrah District. Dehra Dun, India: International Book Distributors.
Bhandari MM, 1978. Flora of Indian Desert. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers.
Bilgrami KS; Jamaluddin; Rizwi MA, 1981. Fungi of India Part II. Host Index and Addenda. New Delhi, India: Today & Tomorrow's Printers and Publishers.
Bilgrami KS; Jamaluddin; Rizwi MA, ed. , 1979. Fungi of India Part I. List and references. Fungi of India Part I. List and references. Today & Tomorrow's Printers & Publishers. New Delhi India, 467 pp.
Bir SS; Kamra S; Sidhu Manjeet; Cheema Paramjeet, 1988. Cytomorphological studies on some memebrs of Cyperaceae from North India. J. Cytol. & Genet. 23:14-37.
Bir SS; Sidhu M, 1974. Observations on the weed flora of cultivable lands in Punjab. Paddy fields in Patiala District. Geobios, 1:156-159.
Bir SS; Sidhu Manjeet; Kamra S, 1982. Cytological Studies on certain sedges from Punjab. Cell and Chromosome Research, 5(1):25-28.
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Bollich PK; Salassi ME; Webster EP; Regan RP; Romero GR; Walker DM, 2002. An evaluation of Clearfield rice production on a stale seedbed. In: Making conservation tillage conventional: building a future on 25 years of research. Proceedings of 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture, Auburn, AL, USA, 24-26 June, 2002 [ed. by Santen, E. van]. Auburn, USA: Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, 184-189.
Cheema Paramjeet, 1991. Cytomorphological studies on memebrs of family Cyperaceae from Punjab Plain and adjoining regions. PhD Thesis, Punjab University, Patiala, India.
Cheema Paramjeet; Bir SS, 1996. Cytological studies in Cyperus Linn. from Punjab, NW India. Journal Indian Botanical Society, 75:(In press).
Clarke CB, 1893-94. Cyperaceae. In: Hooker JD, Fl. Brit. India, 6:585-748.
Collett H, 1971. Flora Similensis. Dehra Dun, India: Bishen Singh, Mahendra Pala Singh (Reprint of original edition of 1902).
Cook T, 1908. The Flora of the Presidency of Bombay. London, UK: Taylor & Fracia.
Duthie JF, 1960. Flora of Upper Genetic Plain. Vol II. Calcutta, India: Botanical Survey of India.
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Haines HH, 1974. Botany of Bihar and Orissa. Part II. London, UK: Adlard & Son & West Newman Limited.
Haines RW; Lye KA, 1983. The Sedges and Rushes of East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: East African Natural History Society.
Hooper SS; Napper DM, 1972. Cyperaceae. In: Hutchinson J, Dalziel JM, Hepper FN, Flora of West Tropical Africa, Vol. III (Part 2). London: Crown Agents (HMSO), 278-349.
Kern JH, 1974. Cyperaceae. In: Flora Malesiana. Series I. Spermatophyta Flowering Plants. Vol. 7, Part 3. 435-753 pp.
Kostermans AJGH; Wirjahardja S; Dekker RJ, 1987. The weeds: description, ecology and control. Weeds of rice in Indonesia [edited by Soerjani, M.; Kostermans, A.J.G.H.; Tjitrosoepomo, G.] Jakarta, Indonesia; Balai Pustaka, 24-565
Matthew KM, 1981. Materials for a Flor of the Tamil Nadu Carnatic Tiruchirapalli. The Repinat Herbarium, St. Joseph's College.
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Mehra PN; Sachdeva SK, 1971. In: IOPB Chromosome Number Reports XXXIII. Taxon, 20:612.
Noltie HJ, 1994. Flora of Bhutan. Vol. 3, Part 1. Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens.
Pavgi MS; Thirumalachar MJ, 1954. Some new or interesting Physoderma species from India II. Sydowia, 8:90-95.
Ramachar P; Bhagyanarayana G; Kumar A, 1978. Additions to our knowledge of rusts (Uredinales) from Hyderabad (India) III. Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, B, 87(5):113-118
Ramaswamy SV; Razi BA, 1973. Flora of Bangalore District. Mysore, India: University of Mysore Publications.
Rao AS; Verma DM, 1982. Cyperaceae of North East India. Howrah, India: Botanical Survey of India Publications, 1-100.
Rath SP; Patnaik SN, 1978. Cytological studies in Cyperaceae with special reference to the Taxonomy. Prospectives in Cytology and Genetics, 3:175-181.
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Sydow H; Butler EJ, 1907. Fungi Indiae Orientalis. Part II. Annual Mycology, 5:485-515.
Thirumalachal MJ; Kulkarni NB; Patil BV, 1956. Two new records of Piricularia species from India. Indian Phytopathology, 9:48-51.
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Distribution MapsTop of page
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