by Stephen Mifsud
   29 Jan 2023      ()
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Cyperus esculentus   (Yellow Nutsedge)

Cyperus esculentus  (CYPERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Cyperus esculentus - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 29-Jan-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Cyperus esculentusL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 45 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cyperus sieberianus Link
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Cyperaceae Juss. (The Sedge Family)
27 species from the Cyperaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Yellow Nutsedge, Chufa Sedge, Tigernut Sedge

Maltese name(s) :

Maltese name not known

Status for Malta :

Archeophyte. Non-native species, but introduced in Malta before 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) but usually been on the Islands more than 1000 years.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – September

Colour of Flowers:

Brown or Inconspicuous


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated locally in S. & C. Europe for its edible tubers (tiger nuts) and ocassionally escapes in the wild.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Annual or perennial; rhizomes long, slender, scaly, sometimes with tubers up to 15 mm; stems 5-60(-90) cm, solitary. Leaves 2-10 mm wide, shorter than to exceeding the stems. Bracts 2-9, usually several exceeding the inflorescence. Inflorescence a simple or compound umbel; rays 4-10, up to 10 cm. Spikelets 5-16 x 1-2.5 mm, linear to oblong, with 6-22 flowers, ascending to patent. Rhachilla broadly winged. Glumes 2-3 x c. 2 mm, lanceolate to ovate, obtuse, concave, pale yellow to yellowish-brown. Stamens 3. Nut ½ as long as the glumes, reddish or dark grey.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region and S.W. Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, Bulgaria, Corse, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sicily and/or Malta, Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, the Balaeric Islands, Crete, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Russia and former USSR
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A) Ag Al dAz(C F G J L M P S T) -Bl(M) Bu Co dCr Ct Eg Ga Gr dHo dHs Hs(S) IJ It Le Li Lu dMd(M) Si(S) Sl Sn Tn Tu(A) [Au(A) Ca(P) Ge Mo Sk Uk]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (6 images)
   Cyperus esculentus   -   Image Code: CYPES-0.
   Cyperus esculentus   -   Image Code: CYPES-1.
   Cyperus esculentus   -   Image Code: CYPES-2.
   Cyperus esculentus   -   Image Code: CYPES-3.
   Cyperus esculentus   -   Image Code: CYPES-4.
   Cyperus esculentus   -   Image Code: CYPES-5.

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