Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Yellow Nutsedge - Cyperus esculentus   L.
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Cyperus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
DistributionEssentially throughout the state, least numerous in the Mountains.

Native to the Old World, extensively planted in N.A. as fodder.
AbundanceFrequent on the landscape. Populations vary greaty in size.
HabitatDistrubed soils, fields, cultivated fields, food plots, roadsides.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationYellow Nutsedge (also known as Chufa) is widely planted as fodder. It closely resembles C. strigosus, but the inflorescences and spikes are a darker yellow or tinged reddish, and which turn dull grayish brown (vs. straw yellow, turning dull yellow or tawny color). In addition, each spike of Chufa tends to be longer than those of strigosus, and somewhat curvy, giving the heads an unkempt appearance.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) lumps all varieties, thankfully, but in 2020 he recognizes 2. FNA treats 3 in N.A., 2 of which occur in NC. Minor differences in this alien will not be recognized by BioDiv.

The genus Cyperus is mostly tropical and warm-temperate in distribution; thus, in NC it is much commoner in the Coastal Plain than in the Mountains and Piedmont. Most species have 1-few flowering stems (culms) from grasslike basal leaves, plus a few stem leaves. At the summit is an inflorescence of very open and branched, or tightly packed, spikes, varying among species from brown to golden brown to straw-color to reddish. The arrangement of the spikelets is important, whether like a hand (digitate) or in paired rows (pinnate); as is the shape of the achene (seed), whether bi-convex in cross-section or triangular. As a group, Cyperus tends to be weedy and readily enters disturbed ground; this is true for many natives as well as all the aliens. In recent years, following DNA research, the genus has incorporated several genera that in RAB (1968) or other manuals were separate: Hemicarpha, Lipocarpha, and Kyllinga.
Other Common Name(s)Chufa
State RankSE?
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieRay's Bridge Road E of NC 22, highly disturbed roadside, July 2015. MoorePhoto_non_natural

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