20 Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)
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botanical background


order: Poales

family: Cyperaceae

genus: Cyperus

species: Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)

attributes: persistent, herbaceous plant, three to five meters in height

origin: riversides in Africa and Palestine

habitat: by now also in southern Europe, Central America, USA and India


in the Bible

And a man went from the house of Levi and took a daughter of Levi as his wife. And the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw him, that he was beautiful, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of papyrus for him, and daubed it with bitumen and with pitch, and put the child in it. And she laid it in the reeds by the river's edge. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along by the riverside. And when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her slave-girl to bring it.

Exodus 2,1-5


The fibers of the papyrus plant are mostly used for the production of writing materials, but also for clothes, ropes, mats and huts. The plant‘s stem would be peeled and then cut into thin stripes. Afterwards they would be ordered crosswise, pressed and dried. Additionally the roots could be eaten raw or cooked.


mentions: several

other text passages (selected):

Exodus 2,3

Hiob 8,11f.

Isaiah 18, 2

Isaiah 35,7



Riede, Peter: Papyrus-Pflanze, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Feb. 2016), URL: https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/anzeigen/details/papyrus-pflanze/ch/c19f898892e070d23621389d8483da75/ (abgerufen 06.06.2023).

Modern King James Version.

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