Mariscus ustulatus (A.Rich.) C.B.Clarke
Cyperus ustulatus is a robust, grass-like, perennial plant growing from a rhizomatous rootstock; it produces a cluster of culms around 60 - 120cm tall, occasionally to 200cm[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials.
New Zealand - North, South and Kermadec Islands.
Lowland near rivers and in damp ground, especially near the coast[
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Cyperus ustulatus is native to the warm temperate climate of New Zealand. It can tolerate some frost and it is said that at least some of its forms may be hardy in temperate climates such as Britain[
Prefers a moist sandy loam[
We have no specific information for this species, but it is said that the inner base of the young stems of all species in this genus can be eaten raw, and make an excellent survival food in times of need[
The pith of the stems is boiled with water, strained and then bottled. It is used in North Auckland districts as a treatment for kidney troubles[
The plant has an extensive root system and is used for binding sand dunes[
The leaves, stripped of their outside edges, are used for making mats, hats and baskets[
The leaves are used for the outer thatch of houses[
Seed - surface sow in the spring and keep the compost moist[
]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 6 weeks at 18°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow on for their first winter in a greenhouse and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. If dividing in the autumn, it is probably better to overwinter the divisions in pots in a greenhouse.