Purple nutsedge 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.
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.
Growth Season/Life Cycle
Seed Arrangement on Spikes
loose; seedhead a distinct purple color when compared to yellow nutsedge's yellow seedhead
Seedhead Spikelet Shape
black tubers have a bitter (pepper) flavor