Ethnobotanic: On the rootlets of the sedge are small tubers, the size of dried currants. These tubers make an excellent meal, either raw or steamed. They are hard and crisp when eaten raw. These tubers taste between fresh coconut and raisins. When reduced to meal and cooked as cereal, it is both nourishing and appetizing. They can be soaked in water, then pounded to release the milky juice, which can be mixed with alcohol or water and sugar to make delicious drinks. Peeled and roasted, the tubers can be ground to become a coffee substitute or a sweet flour. The base of the stem may be eaten raw. The Yokuts in California ate the grass-nut of Cyperus species and the seeds of the same (Powers 1877). Native Americans use golden nutsedge as both sewing and wrapping material in coiled baskets. Nutsedge leaves were made into seats.
Erosion Control: Nutsedge is especially good for stabilizing or restoring disturbed or degraded areas (including logged or burned areas) for erosion and slope control and for wildlife food and cover. Cyperus species may be less suitable for general garden use, as these plants are also invasive. Once established, these plants tend to out-compete, displace, or overrun others.
Wildlife: The seeds are important, commonly used foods of ducks and of certain marshbirds and shorebirds. Ducks, sandhill cranes, crow, other waterfowl, and small mammals such as the kangaroo rat eat the seeds. The tubers are eaten in the winter by ducks and geese.
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