Writing material of ancient times and the plant from which it comes, Cyperus papyrus (sedge family), also called paper plant. This grasslike aquatic plant has woody, bluntly triangular stems and grows to about 15 ft (4.6 m) high in quietly flowing water up to 3 ft (90 cm) deep. The ancient Egyptians used the stem of the plant to make sails, cloth, mats, cords, and principally paper. Paper made from papyrus was the chief writing material in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In the 8th–9th century AD, other plant fibres replaced papyrus in the manufacture of paper. The plant is now often used as a pool ornamental in warm areas or in conservatories.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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