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Cyperus esculentus

Drawing of yellow nutsedge distinguishing characteristics: triangular stem, nutlets, inflorescence.

Yellow nutsedge infestation in soybeans.

Yellow nutsedge infestation in corn.

  • The scientific name of yellow nutsedge means 'abundant edible sedge'. Tubers have a mild, starchy taste, slightly reminiscent of almonds. Ancient wall paintings from Egypt indicate that this plant was cultivated as early as 400 BC. It is still grown in the Spanish-Mediterranean region, where tubers are used to make a nonalcoholic beverage.

  • Pigs are reported to be very fond of the starchy tuber.

  • A Wisconsin field was reported to have up to 35,200,000 yellow nutsedge tubers per acre.

  • Four weedy varieties and one cultivated variety of yellow nutsedge are currently recognized.

  • An African variety called chufa (Cyperus esculentus var. sativas) is grown in the southeastern U.S. for its edible tubers.

  • Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), a related species, grows 10 feet tall and was used in Ancient Egypt for making paper.