Earlier in June Leonard and I found tall flatsedge (Cyperus eragrostis) growing along the Churn Creek Trails in Redding CA (Shasta County). A perennial, tall flatsedge is native to the Pacific States, Southeastern United States and South America. It is naturalized in other parts of North America, Europe and South Africa. Tall flatsedge can usually be found in wetlands, riparian areas and wet, disturbed sites. Where introduced it can become weedy and crowd out native species.
Sedges are grasslike plants. Like grasses they are monocots (have one cotydedon or seed leaf), have flower parts in threes and have long, narrow, parallel-veined leaves. Sedges differ from grasses in having solid stems and achenes (hard, dry fruit with one seed).
This sedge grows from rhizomes. The flat or vee-shaped leaves form a tuft around the base of the stem. Four to eight leaf-like bracts surround the inflorescence. The hairless stem is triangular.
The tall flatsedge inflorescence consists of five to seven flower heads at the end of the stem. Each spherical flower head is composed of rays of flat spikelets which mature to a golden brown color.The fruits are dark brown to black achenes.
Other common names for C. eragrostis include nutgrass, umbrella sedge, and tall cyperus.
The genus name, Cyperus, comes from the Ancient Greek word for “sedge” – kypeiros.