NC State Extension Publications


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Purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) is a native of India and is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions of the world and is not as cold tolerant as yellow nutsedge. This weed tends to be more of a problem in warm-season turf. As with yellow nutsedge, purple nutsedge is a perennial that produces tubers on rhizomes. However, there are several ways the species can be distinguished from each other. Purple nutsedge produces tubers in chains connected by rhizomes, whereas yellow nutsedge only produces tubers at the tips of rhizomes. Purple nutsedge tends to have darker green leaves and produces a characteristic reddish-purple seedhead. The leaf tips of purple nutsedge tend to be blunter than those of yellow. This species is much more difficult to control than yellow nutsedge, so proper identification is important.

Cultural Control

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It is important to properly distinguish sedges from grasses because management is totally different. Sedges are plants that thrive in wet or poorly drained soils but can survive in areas that are not wet. Because of frequent irrigation in highly maintained turf, sedges often thrive in the turfgrass environment. Sedges often become established in wet areas and spread to other areas that are not poorly drained or wet areas. Therefore, it is important to recognize areas where sedges can become established and prevent spread of these sedge species to other areas of the golf course or landscape.

Species Data

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Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 1: Purple Nutsedge Seedhead.

Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 2: Purple Nutsedge Seedhead.

Purple Nutsedge compared to Yellow Nutsedge

Figure 3: Purple Nutsedge versus Yellow Nutsedge.

Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 4: Purple Nutsedge Seedhead.

Purple versus Yellow Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 5: Purple versus Yellow Nutsedge Seedhead.

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 6: Purple Nutsedge Tuber.

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 7: Purple Nutsedge Tuber.

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 8: Purple Nutsedge Tuber.

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 9: Purple Nutsedge Tuber.


Extension Specialist (Turfgrass/Forage Crop Weed Mgt)
Crop & Soil Sciences

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Publication date: Oct. 31, 2017

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