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Weed Identification

pasture spikesedge



Scientific Name

Kyllinga gracillima

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Kyllinga brevifolioides
Cyperus brevifolius var. leiolepis
Cyperus brevifolioides


Forms mats and produces seed under most turfgrass situations. Tolerates close mowing including putting green and golf course tees. Lies dormant during winter, grows during summer and flowers only in the fall. Flowering appears to be day-length dependent.


Leaves are more narrow than most sedges (3 to 6 mm wide) but wider than most desirable turfgrass species. Leaves are dark green, lack hairs, and very waxy or shiny. Plants are triangular in cross section and flowering stems are triangular.

Identifying Characteristics

Leaves are three-ranked and tend to be slightly folded or creased. Plant is triangular in cross section as are all sedges. Seedhead is a spherical spike with three subtending leaves. Is distinguished from green kyllinga by its distribution (widely distributed but more common in piedmont and mountains instead of just along the coast or areas further south like green kyllinga); flowering time (false green kyllinga only flowers in early fall while green kyllinga flowers all summer); and seed (seed of both species are oblong but false green kyllinga has a depression that makes the seed look lens-shaped.

Flower Seed Head

Seedheads consist of spherical spikes on slender three-sided stalks. Each compressed ball or spike is subtended by three leaves (bracts). Seedheads are green initially but turn brown with age. Plants flower only in early fall and may flower even at low mowing height.

Seed Fruit

Seed is oblong or egg shaped with smooth edges but has a depression that makes it lens-shaped. Spikelets are 3.5 to 4.6 mm long and 1.2 to 1.3 mm wide.

Where Found

Found in low wet areas, ditches, pond banks or turfgrass that is poorly drained. Can also be found on dry ground but is less common there. False green kyllinga is distributed from southern regions up to as far north as Pennsylvania. Plants are common in mountain, piedmont, and coastal areas while green kyllinga is common in coastal or southern areas and much less common in the mountains.

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

no hairs

Mature Leaf Width

6 to 15 mm
more than 15 mm





Life Cycle



not present



Ligule Length


Plant Type