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Cyperus esculentus L.
Family Cyperaceae
Common name: Yellow Nutgrass

Cyperus esculentus L. APNI*

Description: Rhizomatous perennial with slender rhizomes forming globose to ovoid tubers c. 10 mm diam., with yellow-brown, smoothish or slightly fibrous coat.

Culms triquetrous, smooth or scabrous above, 10–70 cm high, 1–4 mm diam.

Leaves not septate-nodulose, longer or shorter than culms, 3–6 mm wide. Inflorescences simple or compound with 5–10 primary branches to 10 cm long; spikes ovoid, to 3 cm long, to 2.5 cm diam., with rachis often minutely hispid; involucral bracts leaf-like, lowest 1 or 2 longer than inflorescence. Spikelets flattened, 5–14 per spike, 5–12 mm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide in side view, 8–16-flowered; rachilla broadly winged, persistent. Glumes very obtuse, with 3-nerved sides, 2.5–3 mm long, 2.0–2.2 mm wide, yellow to dark golden brown. Stamens 3. Style 3-fid.

Nut trigonous, obovoid to oblong-obovoid, half as long as glume, c. 1.5 mm long, c. 0.8 mm diam., grey-brown.


Flowering: spring–summer.

Distribution and occurrence: Rarely naturalized (near Macksville, Tenterfield, Barrington, Sydney) but a serious weed of tropical and subtropical cultivation in other parts of the world. Cosmopolitan but probably native of Medit. region & Afr.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *NT, *NWS
Other Australian states: *Qld
Declared Noxious Weed
AVH map***

Tubers are sometimes eaten as 'Chufa' or 'Tiger Nuts'.

Text by K. L. Wilson (1993); edited KL Wilson (Feb 2016)
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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