Pādālijmaan (Fimbristylis cymosa - Cyperaceae)

Description: This normally small, perennial sedge produces thin, stiff leaves up to 2-30 cm (1-12 in) long in dense tufts clumped at the base. The small brown flowers are about 4 mm (0.15 in) long, in a spherical or branched cluster 8-30 mm (0.3-1.2 in) wide at the top of a thick stalk 3-30 cm (1-12 in) long.
Uses: The stalks are occasionally picked to use the soft inner part of the stem (similar to a toothbrush) to clean or massage the ear canal. The stem is twirled in the ear because it feels good or is relaxing. A common cough medicine utilizes pādālijmaan. This plant is also used in divination (bubu). One twirls the stem, and the dropping parts may reveal the identity of a thief or other needed information. In addition, someone wishing to influence the weather may twirl this plant while reciting a chant containing archaic (old and no longer commonly used) words. This plant is also used in love magic. According to one informant, persons wishing to protect themselves from illness caused by sorcery may apply coconut oil containing pādālijmaan to their skin.
Distribution: Pādālijmaan is a common coastal sedge found in the tropics from Southeast Asia to America, including most of the tropical Pacific islands. It usually occurs on rocky and sandy coasts where it is sometimes the only plant. On larger islands it is only rarely found far inland.

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