Cyperus Species, Chufa Sedge, Tiger Nut, Weedy Nutsedge, Yellow Nut-Grass

Cyperus esculentus

Family: Cyperaceae (sy-peer-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cyperus (sy-PEER-us) (Info)
Species: esculentus (es-kew-LEN-tus) (Info)
Synonym:Cyperus esculentus var. esculentus




Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow


Pale Green


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Jones, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Blytheville, Arkansas

Clovis, California

Monrovia, California

Palm Springs, California

San Anselmo, California

San Diego, California(2 reports)

Bartow, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Kula, Hawaii

Champaign, Illinois

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Barbourville, Kentucky

Benton, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

New Orleans, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Valley Lee, Maryland

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cole Camp, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Reidsville, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Glouster, Ohio

North Ridgeville, Ohio

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Reading, Pennsylvania

Arlington, Texas

Buffalo, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 11, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Yellow nutsedge (that's the common name) is one of the most difficult weeds to control. Emerges from dormancy very late in spring. I've never succeeded in digging out all of it, and it spreads and reproduces with remarkable speed.

In lawns it stands out visually because of the light yellow-green color of the foliage, and because in a couple of days after a mowing it stands up over the surface of the grass.

Sulfentrazone and halosulfuron (Sedgehammer) are the two herbicides that can control it. Their toxicity to humans is very low, and both are available for sale to homeowners. Best applied in early summer before plants go to seed. Either may be applied to most lawns without harming the grass.

Repeated applications are necessary for complete cont... read more


On Aug 11, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is a powerful and widespread weed for gardeners, landscapers, and farmers that has invaded all of the USA. I does not come up until it is really warm. It comes from western Asia to India and Africa. Actually, it seems that this species was also native to eastern North America, so it is native and introduced. It is easy to pull out of the ground, but its system of slender white brittle roots and round underground tubers remain in the ground and it soon resprouts. I've tried digging every little piece out of the ground, but it still will return. On the other hand, this species and similar nutsedges in wetlands are a good source of food for waterfowl and the tubers are rich in oil and edible for humans. In southern Europe the tubers are sold commercially as a food item; in France called ... read more


On May 24, 2011, brianbender from Reading, PA wrote:

has anyone ever tried a herbicide called sedge hammer It kills the weed down to the nuts. I to have it in a day lily garden of mine started a program to erradicate the weed infestation in it and so far have killed everything but the thistle and the nutsedge. going after the sedges with sedge hammer and pulling. at the end of the summer I will be tilling and re planting the day lilies after cleaning all the sedge out of the plants when I seperate the roots. I've used sedge hammer before as a landscape pro and it works wonders kills in about 14 days. bad areas may need more than one application until control is established. word of caution do not use as an over spray to desirable plants as damage or death can occur to your ornamentals spray the ground around the desirable plant. I'm j... read more


On Apr 27, 2011, gardengirl7716 from Reidsville, NC wrote:

This is my first time having to try to do something with this terrible weed. I have been doing some research and have found that the USDA has been doing some experimenting with horticultural molasses as a control for this pest. I plan on trying it after I dig my potatoes this summer (if there are any to dig after this pest gets through with them). Supposedly the molasses will stimulate microbial action in the soil which will "eat" the nuts. You can read about it on several websites by searching for "molasses and nutgrass". Hope this helps at least some of you.


On Aug 24, 2010, the_naturalist from Monrovia, CA wrote:

This one invaded my yard from a neighbor's. I expect it started in his yard from seeds hitch-hiking on his boat trailer. It keeps my lawn green in winter when the St. Augustine has gone dormant/gray but in the flower beds it is, as everyone says, a losing battle.

I've tried pure Roundup, pure chlorine bleach, salt, sugar, vinegar, and another "tough weed" commercial spray. Digging the "nuts" can help, but the larger ones are clustered with tiny new ones that break off and spread as the parent bulb is lifted.

My next attempt will be full-strength brush killer poison, applied to the freshly cut tops. I have had good results with that on vines and tree stumps. I think "freshly cut" is the key. Will let you know how it works on the nutgrass.


On May 11, 2010, wandygirl from Brookfield, CT wrote:

Forget about using Roundup (glyphosate) or any so-called broad-leaf weed killer on nutsedge. It's not going to work. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you need to haul out the heavy guns. I'm calling our lawn care guy today to see if he is licensed to apply the herbicides mentioned. Last year I made the mistake of letting it go to seed in a flower bed and now there are way too many seedlings to pull by hand. I'm going to zap it before it gets into the lawn.


On Nov 21, 2009, mrs_colla from Marin, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

When I clicked to add my zipcode to the grow zone of this plant, I didn't mean I had succes with it, more like it has succes with me.
We have some of it growing between the cracks of the driveway/sidewalk, and I cannot seem to get rid of it, I tried knifeing it out, round up, hot water, and my next attempt might be voodoo!!!
I keep it cut down, so it doesn't bloom and reseed, but that's all I can do.
And no, I don't have "control issues", I just don't like this plant.


On Feb 16, 2009, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

My 2nd worst enemy in the yard. (wild onion is #1). I attended a lecture and learned hand-pulling will only promote its growth. But I have been able to control it in flower beds with Fertilome's "Over the Top". It's specifically formulated to kill sedges w/o hurting other plants.


On Aug 21, 2008, cactusman102 from Lawrence, KS wrote:

Relax a bit......let the plant take what! Look what our own invasive species has done to this earth! Besides, plants like this are good for absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), sequestering harmful chemicals and adding oxygen to the air. I figure we should promote dense stands of plants like this to offset all the tropical forests we cut down and burn.

Maybe instead of crying about how this plant ruined your life and saying how horrible it is, lets try to see the good too.... explore its use as paper, bio-fuel, erosion control, or neighbor screening and repellant.

Think about this.....If you are concerned about a plant taking over, you are upset because of a control issue!You are upset that you can't control a species just ... read more


On May 9, 2008, Jennigma from Seattle, WA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Argh! My (generally extremely knowledgeable) gardening neighbor told me this was an annual. I didn't think so-- it's popping back up too strong and frequently for it to be a seed start. I came browsing on DG to try to figure out what I was up against, and now I'm frightened.

I (so far) only have it in one little corner of my yard, in a 2' square patch. Is there anything that would kill it? Could I cover it with black plastic for a year or so? is it possible to screen the soil? What do I have to do to clear it? I'm pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling and cursing the previous owner who didn't maintain the gardens for the 7 yrs previous to my arrival. Thank goodness I only have the one small patch, but how do I eradicate it before it takes over?


On Jul 8, 2007, ouxly40 from Tampa, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

2 years ago I bought several bales of hay to mix in with my soil. It must have had seeds in it. Now it has taken over everything. It's in my yard, my neighbors yard all my flower beds and the garden is infested. It chokes my tiller to a stop. The tiny threads making up the root system are like fishing line. Pure, concentrated roundup only slows it down.

I understand that people in Europe eat the nuts. If you want some they are free - you only have to take them all!


On Mar 18, 2007, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The ever present "thorn" in the side of my gardening experience. It and bermuda grass are the two biggest problems I have.


On Oct 16, 2005, trunnels from Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I just want to support htop in stressing the negativity and invasiveness of this monster. My backyard St. Augustine is full of it and I have been told that the only thing I can do is keep it mowed. Well, it grows twice as fast as my grass, so picture that.


On Jul 5, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Note: I apologize for the length of this comment; but, I feel it is my duty to explain what a horrible nuisance Cyperus esculentus var. esculentus (weedy nutsedge/nutgrass) is in my yard as well as others that I know. Living with it is like living through a nonending gardening nightmare.

Some background:
The chufa eaten by people are not the kind of nutsedge I am describing and that have been mentioned in previous posts. That type is Cyperus esculentus var. sativus (cultivated nutsedge) and is also known as tiger nuts and earth-almonds. Herein, is where some of the confusion lies about this entry in the PlantFiles. There is no separate entry for each.

This cultivated nutsedge does not have the over-wintering capability of the perennial yellow nutsedge ... read more


On Sep 7, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I agree that this plant is dificult to eradicate when it comes up in a place where we don't want it. However we must remember that plants will cover the earth as soon as the space is vacated by another plant. So remember that if it wasn't nutsedge it would be something else. Let us just say that nutsedge is fulfilling an ecological function.

By the way, the chufas are excellent and easy to eat if you soak them in water overnight. They sell them this way as a snack in Spain and I loved them when I was a kid.


On Sep 6, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

I am saying so far a neutral. It has not spread in four years beyond the edge of our big pond. It is surrounded by old growth vegetation. Yesterday I looked all over and could find no evidence of spreading. I think all the wild life in the area are keeping it under control. We have wild hogs, Possums, Raccons, hundreds of waterfowl (wild) including frequent Wood Ducks. The hogs are busy now eating Cattail tubers. I never see the hogs, just the tracks and mess. I can see that if you lived in an area without a lot of critters to control it, it would likely or for sure be a problem. I will keep a close watch over it, thanks to the many warnings.


On Sep 4, 2004, treelover3 from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 5a) wrote:

Of all of the weeds that I have tried to kill, this has been THE most difficult to eradicate. The "nuts" that remain in the soil continue to re-sprout and if you till the soil you spread them everywhere.

I have sprayed with roundup for two years to try and kill this weed, but it keeps coming back again and again.

Spray with roundup mixed 50/50 with water ASAP. (I purchased the pre-mixed roundup and it killed the lawn but didn't touch the nut sedge. I had to buy the roundup concentrate and mix it really strong to kill the growth on the nut sedge, but it still does nothing to the "nuts" left in the ground.)

THE worst weed known to man (and woman).


On Jul 7, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Nutsedge may be attractive to wildlife, but it is nearly impossible to get rid of in your garden. I would never plant this on purpose.

In the early spring when the grass like tops begin to emerge, lots of folk think they can eliminate it by simply pulling it up. The nutlike base remains and just sends up another stalk.

I have it in my vegetable garden and guess I'll have to fight it from now on out.


On Aug 16, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Nutsedges are VERY invasive pests throughout their growing range. They are almost impossible to eradicate, as the "nuts" that survive underground are insulated from ordinary exterminants. Unless you have some need for a "hardscrable survivor type" in your scheme of landscaping, omit any of the nutsedges!


On Aug 15, 2003, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

When I was a child my daddy planted chufas to see what they were like. They formed little
brown 'nuts' and they really did taste good but were very hard to chew hence they were never again planted for human consumption.
They are reported to be good for hogs since they like to root in the ground for food anyway. While chufas do taste good I suggest that peanuts would be a better choice for humans to eat.


On Aug 14, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Apparently a favorite food of wild turkeys and other critters, chufas are planted by wild game enthusiasts in a "food plot" to which the turkeys will return throughou the fall and winter.