Totora (plant)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Totora flower
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Schoenoplectus
S. c. subsp. tatora
Trinomial name
Schoenoplectus californicus subsp. tatora
  • Malacochaete
  • Schoenoplectus tatora
  • Schoenoplectus totora (lapsus)
, Washington, DC

Totora (Schoenoplectus californicus subsp. tatora) is a

Quechua language.[2]

The people of the mid-coast region of Peru have used totora to build their

Inca civilisation, live on Lake Titicaca upon floating islands fashioned from this plant. The Uru people also use the totora plant to make boats (balsas) of the bundled dried plant reeds.[4] In Titicaca, it commonly grows at a water depth of 2.5–3 m (8.2–9.8 ft) but occurs less frequently as deep as 5.5 m (18 ft).[1]

The Rapa Nui people of Easter Island used totora reeds – locally known as nga'atu – for thatching and to make pora (swimming aids). These are used for recreation, and were formerly employed by hopu (clan champions) to reach offshore Motu Nui in the tangata manu (bird-man) competition.[5] How the plant arrived on the island is not clear; Thor Heyerdahl argued that it had been brought by prehistoric Peruvians, but it is at least as likely to have been brought by birds.[6] Recent work indicates that totora has been growing on Easter Island for at least 30,000 years, which is well before humans arrived on the island.[7][8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "tutura - Quechua-Español Diccionario". Glosbe. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  3. ^ "Caballitos de Totora: What to Know About the 3,000-Year-Old Tradition Dying on the Shores of Huanchaco, Peru". Culture Trip. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online: Lake Titicaca. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
  5. ^ "I Am Birdman, Hear Me Roar". Men's Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  6. ^ Heiser, Charles "The Totora ( Scirpus Californicus ) in Ecuador and Peru " Economic Botany Volume 32, Number 3 / July, 1978 [1]
  7. ISBN 978-1-86189-245-4 pp. 7-8 [2]
  8. ^ Easter Island Foundation Frequently Asked Questions Archived 2006-09-27 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

  • Henri J. Dumont; Christine Cocquyt; Michel Fontugne; Maurice Arnold; Jean-Louis Reyss; Jan Bloemendal; Frank Oldfield; Cees L. M. Steenbergen; Henk J. Korthals; Barbara A. Zeeb (1998). "The end of moai quarrying and its effect on Lake Rano Raraku, Easter Island".
    S2CID 127071479