Cyperus esculentus L.
Nut grass, yellow nut grass, yellow nutsedge
Yellow nut grass is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Depending upon who you ask, it is an annoying weed, a treat whose tubers are to eaten raw or roasted, an attractive wild plant, a source of feed for livestock, or an ingredient for a Spanish drink called Horchata.
Identification: The stiff grasslike blades of this plant often lift it up to 35" (90 cm) high, so it is easy to notice, but it is the yellow-brown flower spikes that really stand out. Like tangled bottle brushes, they emerge in stiff clusters 2-3" (5-7.6 cm) long, whose color and shape is distinctive. As with most other sedges, stems are triangular in shape. Individual flower spikelets are ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) long. The clusters are surrounded by four stiff grasslike bracts, neatly positioned at 90° angles from each other.
Edibility: These perennial plants have edible roots called “nuts,” said to have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Cultivated varieties have been used for food since ancient Egyptian times. Today many areas of the world use them for animal or human food, as a flavoring for soft drinks, or for various medicinal purposes.
Cyperus esculentus at Illinois Wildflowers
Cyperus esculentus on WikiBooks.org
Cyperus esculentus University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
Cyperus esculentus on Wikipedia
Cyperus esculentus on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide
Cyperus esculentus at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Cyperus esculentus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.