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Cyperus rotundus - L.

Common Name Nut Grass
Family Cyperaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Roadsides, sandy fields and cultivated ground in Eastern North America[43]. Plants are usually only found in damp places[238].
Range S. and W. Europe, Tropical areas.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Cyperus rotundus Nut Grass

Cyperus rotundus Nut Grass


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cyperus rotundus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from March to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. hexastachyos. Pycreus rotundus. (L.)Hayek.


 Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Seed
Edible Uses:

Tuber - raw or cooked[2, 85, 105, 183, 272]. A very strong flavour when freshly harvested, said to resemble 'Vick's VapoRub', the tubers become milder if they are allowed to dry[183]. A pleasant nutty flavour according to another report[95] whilst another says that the roots are very unpalatable raw and a little better but still not very palatable when cooked[144]. The dried roots can be ground into a powder and used as a cereal[257]. Seed. A famine food, used when all else fails[177]. It is very small and would be fiddly to use[K].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Analgesic  Antibacterial  Antibiotic  Antispasmodic  Antitussive  Aromatic  Astringent  Carminative  
Contraceptive  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Emmenagogue  Lithontripic  Sedative  Skin  
Stimulant  Stomachic  Tonic  Vermifuge

Nut grass is a pungent bitter-sweet herb that relieves spasms and pain, acting mainly on the digestive system and uterus[238]. The roots and tubers are analgesic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, litholytic, sedative, skin, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge[116, 145, 147, 152, 176, 218, 238, 240, 279]. They are used internally in the treatment of digestive problems and menstrual complaints[238]. They are commonly combined with black pepper (Piper nigrum) in the treatment of stomachaches[272]. The roots are harvested in the summer or winter and are dried for later use[238]. An essential oil in the tubers has antibiotic activity and has been shown to arrest the growth of Micrococcus pyrogenes[240]. The plant is rated 8th amongst 250 potential antifertility plants in China[218]. The plant is used in the treatment of cervical cancer[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Essential  Weaving

The leaves are used in basketry and for weaving hats, matting etc[178]. The aromatic root is used for perfumery in India[4, 61, 145]. When dried and ground into a fine powder it is used like talcum powder[245].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist sandy loam[95, 117] and a sunny position[238]. We do not know how hardy this plant will be in Britain, one report says that it is frost-tender[238], but it is found growing wild in areas of N. America that do experience frost[43]. This plant is sometimes cultivated for its edible tubers in Tropical regions[1], however it is a serious weed of agricultural land in the tropics where it spreads rapidly at the roots[61] and is considered to be one of the world's most damaging weeds[200, 238]. It is subject to statutory control in several countries[238].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - surface sow in the spring and keep the compost moist[164]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 6 weeks at 18°c[164]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow on for their first winter in a greenhouse and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Purple nutsedge, coco grass; java grass; nut sedge; nutgrass; purple nut-grass; purple nut-sedge; red grass; red nut sedge; water grass. Spanish: castanuela; cebolleta; chufa; chufila; cipero; contra yerba; corocilla; cortadera; jonquillo; juncea; lengua de gallina; negrillo; paraquita; pasto bolita; totorilla. French: souchet an forme d'olive. Chinese: xiang fu zi. Portuguese: alho-bravo; capim-alho; capim-dandá; junca de conta; tiririca; tiririca-vermelha. Bangladesh: motha. Brazil: alho; alho-bravo; capim-alho; capim-dandá; junca; junca-aromática; tiririca; tiririca-comum; tiririca-vermelha; tres-quinas. Cambodia: smao kravanh chrouk. Chile: almendra de tierra; chufa; coquillo. Colombia: cortadera. Cuba: ajo cimarron; basarillo; caramana; cebolleta; cebolleta de la provincia; cebollin; coquito; corojillo; corojito; juncia redonda; macaguita; yerba del rinon. Dominican Republic: afio; caramaná; coquillo; junquillo de sabana; ronquillo; saqui-saco. Egypt: seid. Fiji: soronakabani; vucesa. Germany: Apotheker-Cypergras; Asiatisches-Cypergras; Runde-Cypergras; Runde-Zyperwurzel. Greece: kupere. India: deela; gantola; korai; nagar motha. Indonesia: teki. Iraq: oyarslan. Italy: cipero orientale; cipero rotondo; stancia rotonda. Jamaica: nut-grass. Japan: hamasuge. Kenya: moikut. Malaysia: rumput haliya hitan. Mexico: cebollin; pimientillo. Myanmar: monhnyin-bin. Pakistan: notha. Peru: coco; coquillo; coquito. Philippines: balisanga; boto-botonis; mala-apulid; mutha; sur-sur Puerto Rico: coqui; coquillo. Samoa: mumuta. South Africa: rooiuintjie; uintjie. Sri Lanka: kalanthi. Suriname: adroe. Taiwan: hsiang-fu-tzu. Thailand: haew moo; ya-haeo-mu. Tonga: pakopako. Turkey: topalak.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

This species has an almost global distribution, absent only from northern regions; it occurs from central Europe south through the Mediterranean and eastern Europe to north Africa and more or less throughout Africa south of the Sahara, it occurs east through central Asia, the middle east and south Asia to east and south-east Asia, south to Australia. It occurs on most of the Indian Ocean Islands, some north-west Pacific islands, Hawaii, throughout the southern United States south through Mexico to Central and South America. It has apparently been introduced to some islands, California, Arizona and Chile. Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola); Argentina; Armenia (Armenia); Australia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Belize; Benin; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago); Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; China (Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang); Christmas Island; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Costa Rica (Cocos I., Costa Rica (mainland)); Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Djibouti; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt (Egypt (African part), Sinai); El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); French Guiana; French Polynesia (Society Is. - Introduced, Tuamotu - Introduced); French Southern Territories (Mozambique Channel Is.); Gabon; Georgia (Abkhaziya, Adzhariya, Gruziya); Ghana; Greece (Greece (mainland), Kriti); Guatemala; Guinea; Guyana; Honduras; India (Andaman Is., Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal); Indonesia (Bali, Jawa, Kalimantan, Lesser Sunda Is., Maluku, Papua, Sulawesi, Sumatera); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Japan (Ogasawara-shoto); Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Lesotho; Libya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah); Mali; Malta; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius (Mauritius (main island), Rodrigues); Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar (Myanmar (mainland)); Namibia (Caprivi Strip, Namibia (main part)); Nepal; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Portugal (Azores, Madeira, Portugal (mainland), Selvagens); Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico (main island)); Qatar; Réunion; Romania; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia, Serbia); Seychelles (Aldabra, Seychelles (main island group)); Sierra Leone; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape Province, North-West Province, Western Cape); South Sudan; Spain (Baleares, Canary Is., Spain (mainland)); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China (Taiwan, Province of China (main island)); Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Turkmenistan; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; United States (Alaska, Arizona - Introduced, Arkansas, California - Introduced, Florida, Georgia, Georgia, Hawaiian Is., Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia); United States Minor Outlying Islands (US Line Is. - Introduced, Wake Is.); Uzbekistan; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara; Yemen (North Yemen, Socotra, South Yemen); Zambia; Zimbabwe Introduced: Cook Islands (Cook Is.); Fiji; New Zealand (Kermadec Is.); Norfolk Island; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Ascension, Saint Helena (main island)); Tonga

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Considered as one of the world’s worst weeds. Reported in more than 90 countries where it grows as a weed infesting at least 52 different crops worldwide. The risk of introduction of C. rotundus is very high. This species is highly mobile and highly adaptable to different environments. It also benefits from human-related activities. Consequently it is considered one of the “world’s worst weeds” with the potential to negatively impact agriculture and natural ecosystems by displacing native plants or by changing the availability of food or shelter for native animals [1d].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Cyperus rotundus (Nut-grass): Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Cyperus aristatus Perennial1.5 7-10  LMNMWe202
Cyperus articulatusJointed flatsedge, Priprioca, PiripiriPerennial1.8 10-12 FLMHNMWeWa142
Cyperus cephalotesBhada, Flat Sedges, Nut Sedges or Umbrella Sedge.Perennial0.3 10-12 FLMHNWeWa012
Cyperus distansSlender Cyperus, Piedmont flatsedgePerennial0.5 0-0  LMNMWe112
Cyperus esculentusTiger Nut, Yellow nutsedge, Nut GrassPerennial0.9 8-10 FLMHNMWe423
Cyperus fendlerianusFendler's FlatsedgePerennial1.5 -  LMNMWe202
Cyperus giganteusPiripiri, Mexican PapyrusPerennial1.5 9-11 FLMHNWeWa023
Cyperus longusGalingalePerennial1.2 6-9 FLMHNMWeWa213
Cyperus papyrusPapyrus. Papyrus sedgePerennial5.0 9-12 FLMHNWeWa222
Cyperus schweinitziiFlatsedge, Schweinitz's flatsedgePerennial0.8 0-0  LMNMWe202
Cyperus setigerusLean flatsedgePerennial1.0 0-0  LMNMWe202
Cyperus tegetiformis Perennial0.0 -  LMNMWe002
Cyperus textilisFlat sedge, Basket grass,Perennial1.5 9-12 FLMHFSNMWeWa004
Cyperus ustulatus Perennial1.2 -  LMNMWe002

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Ivia E. Pantoja Quintana   Tue Dec 14 02:59:49 2004

This is an excellent article especially since I am in high school and very interested in learning as much as I can about medicinal plants. In Puerto Rico the culture is rich with information relating to herbal treatments. At the moment I am beginning and do not have other references but am grateful for your site.

dr,bestoon   Sat Jan 26 2008

journal of antibacterial chemotherapy

Antonio Diaz Nuñez   Thu Apr 24 2008

Err....I think you should change this .... it is crazy...it says the nut is almost imposible to eat.....hehe....Please refer to Spain for CHUFA...and also try in China, India..... Very healthy and also nice flavor. About the fact of being a famine crop...uhhhh..there is a real industry about it....so....famine? The bad is it acts as an invasive weed...difficult to control...

shubhangini   Fri Dec 18 2009

hi....seeds are available ? if yes then where ?

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