Cyperaceae are usually perennial, with underground stems mainly rhizomatous, however, other stem types may also occur, such as corms and tubers. The underground stems of five Cyperaceae species were examined. Cyperus rotundus and Fuirena umbellata have plagiotropic rhizomes, while C. esculentus, C. odoratus, Hypolytrum schraderianum and Bulbostylis paradoxa have orthotropic rhizomes. Corms occur in C. rotundus and C. esculentus, and stolons in C. esculentus. The primary body originates from the activity of the apical meristem and later, from the primary thickening meristem (PTM). Secondary growth results from secondary thickening meristem (STM) activity, and occurs in rhizomes of H. schraderianum, B. paradoxa, C. odotarus and F. umbellata. The procambium and the PTM give rise to collateral bundles in H. schraderianum, and amphivasal bundles in the remaining species. The STM gives rise to the vascular system with the associated phloem and xylem. According to our results, the concept of stem type in Cyperaceae depends on external morphology, function, life phase, activity of the thickening meristems and the relative amount of parenchyma.