The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Tall Star Sedge

Afrikaans name: Matjiesgoed

Tall Star Sedge

Photo © Steven Herbert

Cyperus textilis

The Tall Star Sedge is known by a number of names including Mat Sedge, Basket Grass, and Umbrella Sedge. It is endemic to South Africa and can be found from the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.

This water loving plant is used to make twine, sleeping mats and baskets. Tall Star Sedge grows along the banks of rivers, streams, pools and lakes. It can tolerate saline conditions.

The stems of this plant can be up to 3 metres in length but are normally 1.5 metres. At the end of the stem there are a number of things that look like leaves but are 'bracts'. The leaves are actually at the base of the stem. The small flower spikes appear towards the end of summer.

Reeds and sedges play an important role in providing shelter for a number of birds, snakes, small fish, insects and even young crocodiles. They also provide nesting spots for birds. Elephants and Hippo graze on the Tall Star Sedge.

The Tall Star Sedge is commonly used to line garden ponds. It can be grown in normal and waterlogged soil or in containers.

References and further reading

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 282

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 504


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