Cyperus esculentus L.

nut flatsedge

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Nut flatsedge is a widespread native that prefers human-disturbed soils. Native Americans used the roots of nut flatsedge as food and as a remedy for colds, coughs, and snakebites.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
Leaf blade width
2–6.5 mm
Leaf blade cross-section
the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
Inflorescence position
the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
Inflorescence branching
the inflorescence is branched
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is like a seed, and surrounded by scales
Fruit length
1.1–1.6 mm
Leaf position on plant
the attachment points of all the leaves are at or near the base of the plant
Perianth composition
there is no perianth on the plant
Fruit cross-section
the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1–2.1 mm
    Floral bristle color
    NA
    Floral bristle number
    0
    Floral bristle relative length
    NA
    Floral bristles
    NA
    Floral scale hairs
    there are no hairs on the floral scales
    Floral scale length
    1.8–3.4 mm
    Floral scale nerves
    7 or more
    Floral scale shape
    • the floral scales are lanceolate (widest below the middle, and tapering at both ends)
    • the floral scales are ovate (roughly egg-shaped)
    Floral scale translucent
    the floral scales are opaque
    Flower number per cluster
    • 5-20
    • more than 20
    Inflorescence bract angle
    the bracts are angled outwards near horizontal or reflexed downwards
    Inflorescence bract number
    • there are six or more bracts per inflorescence
    • there are two to five bracts per inflorescence
    Inflorescence bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Inflorescence bracts
    there are at least two bracts, and they are either flat or folded or rolled in at the edges
    Inflorescence branching
    the inflorescence is branched
    Inflorescence crowding
    the inflorescence is at least somewhat spread out, with at least one branch coming from the main stem
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
    Inflorescence shape
    the aggregations within the inflorescence are at least somewhat flattened in cross-section
    Inflorescence type
    there are two or more flowers, spikes or flower clusters on a branched inflorescence
    Perianth composition
    there is no perianth on the plant
    Stamen number
    3
    Stigma number
    3
    Style division
    the top two thirds of the style is divided
    floral bristle barbs
    NA
    plantlets budding at flower bases
    no
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene beak length
    0 mm
    Achene surface texture
    the achene has very obvious pits or depressions on it
    Achene tubercle relative width
    NA
    Achene tubercle width
    0 mm
    Capsule relative length
    NA
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
    Fruit length
    1.1–1.6 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is like a seed, and surrounded by scales
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, seed-like fruit) without a tubercle (a swelling or projection, usually of a different color or texture)
    Locules in capsule
    NA
    Seed length
    0 mm
    Seed tail relative length
    0 mm
    Seed tails
    NA
    Tubercle height
    0 mm
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs or tubers
  • Leaves
    Auricle length
    0 mm
    Auricle texture
    NA
    Auricles
    there are no auricles on the leaf sheath
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
    Leaf blade length
    60–800 mm
    Leaf blade width
    2–6.5 mm
    Leaf form
    all the leaves hold their form out of water
    Leaf position on plant
    the attachment points of all the leaves are at or near the base of the plant
    Leaf septa
    the leaf blades do not have transverse septa
    Leaf sheath hairs
    the leaf sheathes are without hairs
    Pedicel length (Typha)
    0 mm
    Stem leaf blade ligules
    there are no ligules at the leaf blade bases
    Stem leaf blades
    there are fully-developed leaves with leaf blades on the main stem
    Width of seed-producing inflorescence
    12–35 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    15–100 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
    Stem texture near tip
    the stem feels smooth near the tip
    Stem thickness at midpoint
    0.6–3.4 mm

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. esculentus

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Cyperus strigosus:
floral scales mostly 3.5-4.5 mm long and with a keel, the plants lacking well-developed rhizomes (vs. C. esculentus, with floral scales 2.3-3 mm long and without an evident keel, the plants with long, slender rhizomes that end in a tuber).
Cyperus odoratus:
anthers 0.2-0.7 mm long and plants annual from slender roots (vs. C. esculentus, with anthers 1-1.6 mm long and plants with long, slender rhizomes ending in tuber).

Synonyms

  • Cyperus esculentus var. angustispicatus Britt.
  • Cyperus tuberosus Pursh

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Cyperus

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Cyperus esculentus L. var. leptostachyus Boeck.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

7.  Cyperus esculentus L. var. leptostachyus Boeck. N

nut flatsedge. Cyperus esculentus L. var.  angustispicatus Britt.; C. tuberosus Pursh • CT, MA, 
ME, NH, RI, VT. Open, often human-disturbed, soil such as fields, roadsides, and waste areas.