Yellow Nutsedge

Cyperus esculentus


Family: Cyperaceae

Other common names: yellow nutgrass, chufa flatsedge, earth-almond

Weed Class: B

Year Listed: 1988

Native to: Europe

Toxic: not known to be

additional photos



Why is it a noxious weed?

It is considered one of the world's worst weeds. It is highly adaptable to irrigated agricultural areas. It competes with crops for resources and reduces crop yield. Research suggests that this species may produce chemicals that are toxic to crops.

How would I identify it?

General Description: Yellow nutsedge is a fibrous-rooted perennial that grows 12 to 32 inches tall. Yellow nutsedge grows from perennial tuberbearing rootstocks; the tubers are approximately 2/5 to 4/5 of an inch long.

Flower Description: Flowers are yellowish, or yellowish-brown. They are arranged in narrow spikelets on umbel-like inflorescences.

Leaf Description: Leaves are narrow and grass-like. There are 3 vertical rows on the stem. Most of the leaves are clustered at the base of the stem.

Stem Description: Stems are erect, triangular, and yellow-green.

Fruit/Seed Description: Seeds are yellowish-brown, three-angled and are about 1/16 inch long.

May be confused with:

How does it reproduce?

Yellow nutsedge does have seed but spreads primarily by tubers, rhizomes, and corm-like basal bulbs.

Where does it grow?

Yellow nutsedge grows in croplands as well as along margins of lakes, rivers, streams and marshes. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of yellow nutsedge in Washington.

How do I control it?

Mechanical Control

Tillage at four week intervals depletes the energy reserves of the tubers.

Cultural Control

Crop competition can be used effectively since fast growing crops, planted at high densities, will form dense canopies that can then outcompete yellow nutsedge.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.


For more information

See our Written Findings for more information about yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus).

Additional Photos


Yellow nutsedge inflorescence

Yellow nutsedge infestation


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