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This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa, Seychelles.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008]

Morphology General Habit
Robust densely tufted perennial with a short rhizome producing usually numerous stems and leaves
Morphology Stem
Stems 10–70 cm long and 0.4–1.7 mm thick, sharply triangular and deeply or obscurely ridged, glabrous (or with a few very short spine-like hairs), the base swollen and bulb-like and densely covered by old darkened leaf-sheaths often split into black fibres
Morphology Leaves
Leaves 5–40 cm long and 2–7 mm broad, flat or inrolled; margin and midrib with short spine-like hairs especially above
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a single globose or shortly ovate white head fading to pale dirty brown, 6–14 x 6–15 mm; involucral bracts 2–5, leafy, up to 15 cm long (but in smaller plants sometimes only 1 cm long), usually bent downwards
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 4–6.5 mm long, 1–2-flowered
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Outer glumes equal, 3.5–6.5 mm long, whitish but often brown-spotted, with 2–3 mostly rather weak nerves on each side of the excurrent, strongly winged midrib; wings coarsely toothed, each tooth with a wide base and 1–2 narrow ciliate spines
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style with 2 branches
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet 1.6–1.8 x 0.7–0.8 mm, blackish, minutely papillose.
S2, 3 tropical and southern Africa.
Near sea-level to c. 200 m.

Native to:

Angola, Botswana, Cape Provinces, Central African Repu, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Cyperus alatus (Nees) F.Muell. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Burke [301], South Africa Kyllinga alata K000416364
Krauss [292], South Africa Kyllinga alata K000416365
Ecklon [450], South Africa Kyllinga alata K000416366

First published in Fragm. 8: 272 (1874)

Not accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Simpson, D.A. (2007). World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges: 1-765. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Kyllinga alba subsp. alba.]
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Kyllinga alba.]
  • Hoenselaar, K., Verdcourt, B. & Beentje, H. (2010). Cyperaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-466. [Cited as Kyllinga alba var. alata.]


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Cabezas, F., Aedo, C. & Velayos, M. (2004). Checklist of the Cyperaceae of Equatorial Guinea (Annobón, Bioko, Río Muni) Belgian Journal of Botany 137: 3-26.
  • Sosef, M.S.M. & al. (2006). Check-list des plantes vasculaires du Gabon Scripta Botanica Belgica 35: 1-438.

Flora of Somalia

  • Flora Somalia, Vol 4, (1995) Author: by K. A. Lye [updated by M. Thulin 2008]

Flora of Somalia
Flora of Somalia

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.