Scientific Name: Kyllinga brevifolia

Common Name: shortleaf spikesedge

Synonyms: Cyperus brevifolius

Habit: This perennial sedge can be found growing from April through October. Flowering occurs from May onward. It is dormant in winter; however, in warm climates it remains green. When not mowed, it grows erect. In areas that are mowed, it will grow in a prostrate manner up to 15 inches. It can be spread by rhizomes.

Leaves: The leaves are hairless, long, narrow and are shiny in appearance. The leaves taper gradually, and end in a sharp point. They also have a distinct ridge along the mid-vein. The leaves do not have auricles or ligules, but are still commonly misidentified as grasses.

Identifying Characteristics: It is distinguishable from yellow or purple nutsedge due to its patchy growth, seed, and its fine leaves. It is extremely resilient, surviving, and even flowering at mowing heights of only 3/4 of an inch. The stems are triangular and end in a seed head.

Flower Seed Head: The green, globular flowers grow on triangular stalks. Three short leaves (bracts) occur directly below the flower.

Seed Fruit: The flowers each contain 30-75 spikelets, each capable of producing a seed. Each of the 1/8 to 1/16 inch oval seeds are highly viable. The seed will not germinate if buried deep in the soil.

Where Found: This plant can be found growing in damp or wet turf. It prefers warmer climates.

  • Life cycle: biennial

  • Plant type: Sedge

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Cyperaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: none

  • Length: none

  • Seed head: spike; multiple spikes

  • Width: less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: triangle