Lower Silvermine River Wetlands’ Flower of the Month  for February 2014 is actually a sedge rather than a flower:

CYPERACEAE – (Sedge Family) Ficinia nodosa (Scirpus nodosus) (Vleibiesie)

                                                          Pycreus polystachyos

 

Silvermine wetlands Flower of the Month February 2014. Image provided by Sheila RobinsonSheila Robinson 083 9445741

 

Although Sedges are often classified as grasses they are mostly perennial herb, with a few being annuals. They chiefly grow in in the tropics and subtropics with roughly 40 genera and 400 species growing in Southern Africa, mainly in wetland areas and along rivers and lakes, although some also occur in moist grassland areas and on the edges of forests. Some of the fynbos species generally grow in impoverished sandstone soils, whereas others are pioneers on coastal dune sands. Their adaptations to different habitats are many.

 

Although they are mainly wind pollinated many species have adaptations for seed dispersal by ants, birds and animals

 

Sedges help to combat erosion and assist in water purification. They also provide food and shelter for birds, animals and other aquatic life. The small corms of some Cyperus species are eaten by francolins and other game birds.

 

The corms of many species are eaten in some form or another by humans while the plants are used for the construction of boats and houses, thatching, paper-making and weaving and in artificially constructed water purification beds.

Sedges are often grown as ‘architectural’ plants in gardens, especially alongside water features.

Information gleaned from an article by  Clare Archer, National Herbarium Pretoria  http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/cyperaceae.htm

Viv