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CYPERUS esculentus

Image of Cyperus esculentus

Jesse Saylor

Family

Cyperaceae

Botanical Name

CYPERUS esculentus

Plant Common Name

Nut Sedge, Yellow Nut Sedge

General Description

Gardeners who have run across this noxious perennial or annual weed know just how obnoxious it is. Nut sedge spreads aggressively if allowed to take hold because it's tough as nails and spreads via fast-growing rhizomes (underground roots and stems). To make matters worse, it also produces tuberous nutlets that remain behind when the weed is pulled and grow into whole new plants. This pervasive weed can be found in North Temperate and subtropical regions across the globe, so most will meet up with it eventually.

The grassy foliage of nut sedge is bright green and its blades have a distinct triangular formation at the base, a foliar characteristic common of sedges. In summer, it produces stalks topped with whorls of bracts. These become subtended by bottle brushes of golden orange flowers that produce lots of flat, oval seeds, which germinate readily after falling to the ground. The slender white rhizomes of this plant form vast underground networks. Brown, tuberous nutlets form near the base of the plants throughout summer. One odd fact is that these nutlets are edible and consumed in some parts of the world. They are reported to have a sweet, nutty taste.

Nut Sedge eradication is generally a multi-step process. Begin by digging out the plants, being careful to remove all their rhizomes and tubers. Repeat this process when all missed pieces begin to produce new grassy foliage. Another option is to smother colonies with black mulch cloth for a couple of months in summer. The lack of light and heat will usually kill them completely. Gardeners that choose to kill weeds with glyphosate will need to apply multiple applications over a period of two months or so to kill a colony.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Sedge or Rush

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Pollution, Drought, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Orange, Gold, Bronze, Tan

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes