Nut grass, Common Nut Sedge also called Java grass, , purple nut sedge or purple nutsedge, red nut sedge is a species of sedge(Cyperaceae) native to Africa, southern and central Europe (north to France and Austria), and southern Asia. The names "nut grass" and "nut sedge are derived from its tubers, that somewhat resemble nuts, although botanically they have nothing to do with nuts.
Common Nut Sedge is a perennial plant, that may reach a height of up to 40 cm. The names "nut grass" and "nut sedge" (shared with the related species Cyperus esculentus) are derived from its tubers, that somewhat resemble nuts, although botanically they have nothing to do with nuts. Leaves sprout in ranks of three from the base of the plant. The flower stems have a triangular cross-section. The flower is bisexual and has three stamina and a three-stigma carpel. The fruit is a three-angled achene. The root system of a young plant initially forms white, fleshy rhizomes. Some rhizomes grow upward in the soil, then form a bulb-like structure from which new shoots and roots grow, and from the new roots, new rhizomes grow. Other rhizomes grow horizontally or downward, and form dark reddish-brown tubers or chains of tubers.
The plant is mentioned in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine Chakra Samhita(circa
100 AD). Modern ayurvedic medicine uses the plant, known as musta
or musta moola churna
for fevers, digestive system disorders, dysmenorrhea, and other maladies.
Despite the bitter taste of the tubers, they are edible and have nutritional value. Some part of the plant was eaten by humans between Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. The plant has a high amount of carbohydrates. The plant is eaten in Africa in famine-stricken areas.