Cyperus esculentus

Scientific Name Cyperus esculentus L.
Common Names English: Yellow Nutsedge; German: Erdmandel; French: Souchet comestible; Spanish: Coquillo amarillo
Description Perennial sedge grass with under-ground runners (rhizomes). Forms tubercles. Reproduction primarily vegetative, found in warmer to moderate regions. C. esculentus has a high adaptability and reproductive rate, the tubers are eatable and contain high starch contents.


Characteristic Features

Leaves awl-shaped, glossy, rosette-forming.

Young Plant

Leaves similar to those of mature plants but smaller.


Triangular, inconspicuous nodes, 20-80 cm ( 7.87 - 31.49 inch) high.


Triangular, plicate, emerging from the stalk base, light green, ca. 5 mm (0.19 inch) wide and 20-90 cm (7.87 - 35.43 inch) long.

Propagation Organs


Spikelets straw-colored to gold-brown, in terminal umbel, 5-30 mm (0.19 - 1.18 inch) long, ~ 2-3 mm (0.078 - 0.12 inch) wide. Longest leaf-like bract much longer than infloresence.

Flowering Period



Light brown achenes.

Viability of Seeds

Approximately 10 years.


Seedlings rarely occur. Most plants arise from rhizomes and/or tubers. Tubers typically survive up to ~ 3-4 years. One plant can produce hundreds to thousands of tubers in one season.
One plant produces 100 - 2,000 seeds.



Moist depressions of upland prairies, pond margins, stream edges, pastures, old fields, roadsides, railroads, moist open areas.


Flat, wet, slightly acidic, sandy, well-drained soils.

Additional Crop Information

All summer annual crops including horticultural crops and non agricultural land.

Agricultural Importance

Extremely difficult to remove permanently because of its stratified and layered root system. Tubers and roots being interconnected to each other to a depth of 50 cm (19.68 inch) or more. The tubers are connected by fragile roots that are extremely prone to snapping when pulled on, so it is extremely difficult to remove Yellow Nutsedge with its entire root system intact. The plant will regenerate completely if even a single tuber is left in place. Yellow Nutsedge is very insensitive to many common herbicides. It greatly reduces crop yields and therefore is a very important invasive weed in Europe that had been introduced by nurseries and gardeners. It is commonly introduced into Cyperus-free areas with contaminated soil.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Yellow nutsedge is very sensitive to light competition and thus can be controlled by competitive crops. Mechanical control has little success.

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