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This amazing plant isn’t really a grass, but it looks like grass. (It’s a form of sedge) What makes this plant famous is the underground edible “nuts” (actually root tubers), a food source for ancient Egyptians and Arabs, now grown everywhere from Spain to California. Slightly sweet, nutty caramel-like flavor and texture. Soak before eating to soften. Very high in healthy fats and fatty acids similar to olives! The oil is actually very similar to olive oil. More nutritious than peanuts. Great source of healthy carbs for energy and also used as milk replacement. Considered a strong aphrodisiac. High in fiber so it helps constipation. Great for stress, fertility, liver, heart, stomach, menstrual, mouth, gums, ulcers. Used for breast lumps and cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, hernia, prostate, prolapsed colon, diuretic, cholesterol, atherosclerosis, anti-inflammatory, strong anti-oxidant, improve eyesight, digestion, promotes uterine contractions during childbirth. OK for diabetics. Considered an invasive weed because it takes over yards and gardens, even if one tuber is left in ground. Stems are triangular, distinctive flowers have clusters of flat, oval golden seeds, surrounded by 4 thin “leaf” spikes, 90 degrees from each other. Do not take while pregnant because it promotes uterine contractions.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Cyperus esculentus), also earth almond, ground almond, or rush nut; a perennial herb of the family Cyperaceae. During the first year of vegetation, chufa forms as many as 240 fascicles of leaves and 400 underground shoots with terminal tubers. A single plant may have as many as 1,000 tubers. There are three to 12 leaves in a fascicle. The sessile leaves are long (up to 80 cm) and narrow (5–10 mm). The small flowers are located in the axils of the upper leaves and gathered in umbellate inflorescences. The fruit is a nut.

Chufa is distributed in Egypt, Italy, and Spain, as well as in Asia Minor and in the countries of tropical and southern Africa. In the USSR it is found in Transcaucasia and the Volga Region. The main region of commercial production of chufa is Spain. In the USSR it is found in collection and experimental plantings.

Chufa is cultivated as an annual. The vegetative period is 110 to 120 days. The best soils are sandy loams, light loams, and chernozems; saline and waterlogged soils are unsuitable. Chufa is propagated by tubers or by seedlings. The yield of tubers is 20–30 quintals per hectare (ha) or, if irrigated, 40–50 quintals per ha. The tubers contain 30–35 percent starch, 15–20 percent sugar, 20–25 percent oil, and 3–7 percent protein. Chufa may be eaten raw, fried, or boiled. It is used in the production of confectioneries, beverages, coffee and cocoa substitutes, and cooking oil. The cut green mass can be fed to animals directly, or it can be ensiled.


Zhukovskii, P. M. Kul’turnye rasteniia i ikh sorodichi, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kelley JR and HF Leigh Chufa Biology and Management In Waterfowl management handbook of Fish and Wildlife Leaflet 13 Washington, D.C.
[19.] De Vries FT Chufa (Cyperus esculentus, Cyperaceae): A Weedy Cultivar or a Cultivated Weed?
[36.] Okladnikov I, Vorkel L, Trubachev I, Vlasova N and G Kalacheva Inclusion of chufa in the human diet as a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
[38.] Shaker MA, Ahmed MG, Amany MB and LN Shereen Chufa Tubers (Cyperus esculentus L.): As a New Source of Food.