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(galingale), a genus of perennial and, less commonly, biennial and annual herbs of the family Cyperaceae (sedge). The bisexual flowers have no perianth and are in flattened linear spikelets under two-ranked scales. The spikelets are gathered in a common umbel or head; there are long bracteal leaves at the base of the inflorescence. The fruit—an achene—is usually three-angled.
There are about 500 species, distributed in tropical, subtropical, and—rarely—temperate zones. The USSR has 14 species, which grow predominantly in the south in damp and marshy places. The species C. fuscus is widely distributed in the USSR. C. rotundus, which grows in the Caucasus and Middle Asia, is a long-rhizomed pernicious weed of cotton and other irrigated crops; the tuberous formations on its rhizomes are used as spice. The chufa (C. esculentus) is sometimes cultivated for food and animal feed. The rhizome of C. longus contains a violet-scented essential oil that is used in Western Europe in the production of perfumes and cosmetics. A particularly well-known species is the papyrus (C. papyrus). The umbrella plant (C. alternifolius) is a common houseplant and greenhouse plant.
T. V. EGOROVA