Plants of
South Australia
Cyperus centralis
Central Fat-sedge,
Inland Flat-sedge,
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3

Prior names

Cyperus sp. aff. cunninghamii (C.B.Clarke)C.A.Gardner

Cyperus cunninghamii, partly

Cyperus rutilans, partly

Common names

Central Fat-sedge

Inland Flat-sedge



Cyperus from the Latin 'cyperos' and derived from the Greek 'kypeiros', an ancient Greek name used by Homer and Theophrastus for several plants of this genus. Centralis from Latin meaning middle or central, referring to the species' occurrence in the geographical centre of Australia.

Distribution and status

Found in the north-west corner of South Australia growing on sand in rocky gorges, rockholes, gullies, stream banks and beds. Also found in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tall but slender perennial sedge; tufted, often with rather long stems and a thickened somewhat bulbous base, to 110 cm high, not viscid. Stems trigonous to triquetrous, often slightly scabrous, to 2.5 mm diameter. Leaves flat to keeled or channelled, usually not septate-nodulose; shorter than the stems to 3.5 mm wide, usually smooth; leaf sheaths usually not septate-nodulose; finely striate, not shining, straw-coloured above, purple-red below. Inflorescence simple or small-compound; 4-12 primary branches to 10 cm long; spikelets about 12 in loose hemispherical clusters, compressed, oblong to narrow-ovate, to 18 mm long and 3 mm wide in side view with 4-18 flowers. Fruits are reddish-brown globular fruit clusters. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect fruits either by picking off the mature heads, those turning brown and come-off easily or break-off whole spikes. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Be careful, as the seeds are very small. Seeds are yellowish ovoid and hard. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.