Where Does Papyrus Come From?
Papyrus is made from a plant that grows on the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. The aquatic plant, Cyperus papyrus, grows up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) high. Its green, triangular stem has long, sharp leaves and flower clusters 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 cms) long. These flowers bloom at the tip. Egyptians used the stem of the plant for several purposes like making mattresses, chairs and boats but the most popular use was making papyrus. How Is Papyrus Made? One Roman writer wrote a detailed description of how papyrus was made. He said the outside layer of the stem was removed. The inner layer of the plant was sliced into long strips and placed side by side with a second layer on top at a right angle. Then the whole thing was soaked in water and pressed under a heavy rock for 21 days. The juice of the plant acted like glue and bonded the strips together. The outcome was a sheet, which was hammered flat and dried in the sun. Papyrus – Did U Know? • Ancient Greeks and Romans started using t