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Valentine.gr  

August 2005

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians started making paper from the papyrus plant, Cyperus Papyrus, over five thousand years ago?

Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)

Papyrus -Cyperus papyrus

Cyperus papyrus, (Cyperaceae), is a tall, robust, leafless aquatic can grow 4-5 m high. It features 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 10-30 cm in length. This cluster resembles a feather duster when the plant is young. Greenish-brown flower clusters appear at the ends of the rays. The flowers give way to brown, nut-like fruits.

The younger parts of the rhizome are covered by red-brown, papery, triangular scales, which also cover the base of the culms and represent reduced leaves. It is therefore untrue to call this plant "leafless".

Papyrus is estimated to range from subtropical to tropical desert to wet forests, tolerating annual temperatures of 20-30įC and pH of 6.0 - 8.5. Papyrus flowers in late summer, and prefers full sun to partly-shady conditions. Like most tropical plants, it is sensitive to frost.

Papyrus is native to the lakes and rivers of northern Africa, in particular, the countries of Egypt and Sudan. The papyrus sedges form vast stands in swamps, shallow lakes, and along stream banks throughout the wetter parts of Africa, but has become rare in the Nile Delta. In deeper waters it is the chief constituent of the floating, tangled masses of vegetation known as sudd. It also occurs also in Madagascar, and some Mediterranean regions such as Sicily and Palestine.

The 'feather-duster' flowering heads make ideal nesting sites for many social species of birds. As in most sedges, pollination is effected by wind, not insects, and the mature fruits after release are distributed by water.

The stems of the Cyperus papyrus plant are triangular in shape which helps to give it the strength to withstand high winds without breaking. The ancient Egyptians started making paper from the papyrus plant over five thousand years ago.

Papyrus is a Latin word from which the word paper is derived. Papyrus is not true paper in the sense that sheets are not formed from macerated fibers. The use of papyrus as a writing material goes back several thousands of years. It was once the most widely used writing surface in the world. Sheets of papyrus were formed by slicing the pith of the plant Cyperus papyrus and laying very thin strips in a row with the edges slightly overlapping. Another row was laid at a right angle on top of the first layer. The layers were moistened with water and pounded into a sheet with a hammer. The sheet was then pressed and dried. A flour (Egyptian), water and vinegar solution was used as a sizing.

Sheets were usually sold in long rolls or bales. The rolls were formed by attaching the sheets end to end with what is thought to have been a starch adhesive. Individual sheets could then be cut off the roll as needed. Individual sheets were between 7 and 20 inches long. Each roll had about 20 sheets of papyrus. The better grades of papyrus were more brownish in color. The best quality sheets were made from slices that came from the heart of the plant. When a sheet of papyrus was written upon, the side with the horizontal layers was normally used.

Papyrus was an expensive material because its production and sale were controlled by royal monopoly. This made its trade a lucrative market. At one time or another the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines held state monopolies in papyrus trade. Papyrus saw its greatest use between the 4th century A.D. and the 4th century B.C. As the technology of papermaking spread, however, paper eventually replaced papyrus as the predominant writing material.

The ancient Egyptians appeared to have used papyrus in so many ways. We know they made paper from papyrus but they also used it to make sandals, wove it into mats, baskets and fencing, made rope and also used parts of the plant for food as well as a medicine.

Aside from papyrus, several other members of the genus Cyperus may actually have been involved in the multiple uses Egyptians found for the plant. Its flowering heads were linked to make garlands for the gods in gratitude. The pith of young shoots was eaten both cooked and raw. Its woody root made bowls and other utensils and was burned for fuel. From the stems were made reed boats bas-reliefs of the Fourth Dynasty showing men cutting papyrus to build a boat; similar boats are still made in the southern Sudan, sails, mats, cloth, cordage, and sandals. Theophrastus states that King Antigonus made the rigging of his fleet of papyrus, an old practice illustrated by the ship's cable, wherewith the doors were fastened when Odysseus slew the suitors in his hall.

Today, papyrus is mainly cultivated as an aquatic ornamental. It is now a popular landscape plant, gracing fishponds and pools in frostfree areas around the world! A dwarf relative of this plant, designated as C. nanus or C. profiler, typically grows to only 1 m tall.

Source:
http://aic.stanford.edu/sg/bpg/annual/v13/bp13-10.html

http://eoluk.co.uk/papyrus/papyrus_1.htm

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/
encyclopedia/c/cy/cyperus_papyrus.htm

 

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Hookerís lips - Psychotria elata
Suicide Tree - Cerbera odollam
Konjac - Amorphophallus konjac
Madagascar ocotillo - Alluaudia procera
Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
Natal Plum - Carissa macrocarpa
Ashanti blood - Mussaenda erythrophylla
Duranta - Duranta erecta
Maqui - Aristotelia chilensis
Manuka - New Zealand Tea Tree - Leptospermum scoparium
Suriname cherry - Eugenia uniflora
Australian Finger Lime - Citrus australasica
Sacred Flower of the Incas - Cantua buxifolia
Job's tears - Coix Lacryma-jobi
Velvet Bean - Mucuna pruriens
Java Apple - Syzygium samarangense
Screwpine - Pandanus utilis
Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
Chayote - Sechium edule
Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Flowering rush - Butomus umbellatus
Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Manís Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
Goji - Wolfberry - Lycium barbarum
Vanilla - Vanilla Planifolia
Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
Pachypodium
Physalis
Ceropegia
Sturt pea - Swainsona formosa
Clematis
Grevillea
Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
Trochetia
Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
Hydnora - Hydnora africana
Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
Feijoa - Pineapple Guava - Acca sellowiana
Aquilegia - Columbine
Cassiope
Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
Portulaca
Lobelia
Field Poppy - Papaver Rhoeas
Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
Muscari - Grape Hyacinth
Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
Zinnia
Honeysuckle - Lonicera
Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
Olive - Olea europaea
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Desert rose - Adenium obesum
Oleander - Nerium Oleander
Abutilon
Sweet Pea - Lathyrus odoratus
Chaenomeles - Flowering Quince
Forsythia
Amaryllis - Hippeastrum
Butchers broom - Ruscus aculeatus
Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Gloriosa
Bamboo
Gladiolus
Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
Rafflesia arnoldi

 

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