Botanical name: Cyperus papyrus Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge family)
Synonyms: Chlorocyperus papyrus
Papyrus is a tall, robust aquatic plant can grow 4-5 m high. It forms a grass-like clump of triangular green stems that rise up from thick, woody rhizomes. Each stem is topped by a dense cluster of thin, bright green, thread-like rays around 10 to 30 cm long, resembling a feather duster when the plant is young. Greenish-brown flower clusters eventually appear at the ends of the rays, giving way to brown, nut-like fruits. In Ancient Egypt, papyrus was used for various of purposes such as baskets, sandals, blankets, medicine, incense, and boats. The woody root was used to make bowls and utensils, and was burned for fuel. The Papyrus Ebers refers to the use of soft papyrus tampons by Egyptian women in the 15th century BCE. Egyptians made efficient use of all parts of the plant. Papyrus was an important "gift of the Nile" which is still preserved and perpetuated in Egyptian culture. Papyrus is native to Africa, widely cultivated elsewhere.
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