Cyperus esculentus

Yellow nutsedge

Botanical description: Yellow nutsedge is known primarily as a lawn weed, easily spotted for its robust foliage. It can also be found in tree pits, along fence lines and largely forgotten places where it can take root. Ideal conditions for growth are sunny moist sites with nutrient rich soil. Less optimally, Cyperus esculentus can inhabit poorly drained areas, compacted soils, and can grow along freshwater wetlands, ponds and streams. Like many other plants common in the urban flora, nutsedge is disturbance adapted, and needs open ground to germinate, with full sun exposure. “Sedges have edges,” is an adage that is useful in spotting this plant. Unlike grasses, the flower stems and leaf blades are triangular in cross-section. The flowers consist of little spikelets, yellowish brown in color. Established plants send out long rhizomes that terminate in succulent tubers—which can be eaten raw, cooked or dried. The specific epithet, esculentus, means edible in botanical Latin. Historically used by the Egyptions, the tubers are also used by contemporaries to make the drink, horchata.



Place of Origin

Europe, Asia and North America