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CYPERUS HELFERI

Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Rosette
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Cyperus
Region: Asia
Location: Thailand
Size: Height: 20-50cm (8-20in)
Growth Rate: Slow
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Cyperus helferi is one of the few plants in its genus that can adapt to submersed life. This amphibious plant can be found growing both submersed and emersed within and alongside stagnant or slow-flowing bodies of water throughout its native country of Thailand. It is a highly desirable plant that has become easy to obtain online and through trade with other hobbyists.

This Cyperus species is not all that difficult to grow once it has undergone its lengthy acclimatization period. It seems to do best in moderate to bright lighting of 2-4 watts per gallon or more. CO2 injection is not necessary, but it is beneficial and will produce more rapid growth. The water temperature should be on the cooler side, below about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant also enjoys a moderate water current in the aquarium. As with most plants, rich growing conditions with plenty of nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and micronutrients will stimulate the most rapid, robust growth. Without an adequate nutrient supply, this plant will grow much more slowly.

C. helferi produces long, flowing leaves that arc elegantly across the water column. Despite its being a rosette plant, this species produces a very small root system. Many runners with daughter plants are produced at the base of established, healthy specimens. To propagate this species, take one of these daughter plants and separate it from the mother plant with a sharp pair of scissors and replant it.

This elegant plant is best used as a focal point in the midground or as a background accent. The species was first popularized by Takashi Amano in his Nature Aquarium World series, where he often used it in very minimalistic and quiet layouts that effectively showcased its subtle beauty.

Photo #1: Submersed US and International Copyright 2004 by Tula Top All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: Emersed US and International Copyright 2006 by Tim Gross All Rights Reserved.