It is a species of sedge also known by the common names of sweet cyperus and water rush in Africa. The thick, long, yellowish rhizomes of these plants are traditionally harvested to distil a sweet-scented oil which is used in the perfume industry. The stalks were formerly traditionally processed into paper. There were also folk medicines made from this plant in Europe, the rhizomes being used for stomach aches and the onset of dropsy. It is used at present as an ornamental plant, used for lining ponds.