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The Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus) is also known under the name Tigernuss or Chufa. It is closely related to the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and the known as houseplant Zypergras (Cyperus alternifolius) and belongs like the native sedges to the family of the sour grass family (Cyperaceae). The tigernut comes from Africa and has a long tradition here as a crop. Their sweet, almond-tasting bud tubers were already valued by the Egyptians as healthy vegetables. With the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, the edible tubers came to Spain, where they are also increasingly grown today. Especially in the area around Valencia, it produces "Horchata de Chufa", a sweet tigernut milk. Tigernuts have become increasingly popular with us for several years now. The fiber-rich and gluten-free vegetables are regarded as slimming products and can also be easily grown here - both in the garden bed and in planters on the balcony.
As valuable as the crop is as a crop, it is so problematic as a neophyte: Especially in southern Europe, it spreads in some countries strong and displaces the native plants. In Germany and the Netherlands there are also small established wild stocks along the Rhine. However, the tigernut encounters with us their climatic distribution limit, therefore, in the cooler regions is not to be expected with a Verwilderung.
The Erdmandel is also a so-called hyperaccumulator: It mainly stores heavy metals such as lead and cadmium in their tissue and is therefore also used for the so-called phytoremediation of soils. So you plant, for example, heavy metal-contaminated waste dumps from mining with tiger nuts to deprive them of the harmful metal ions.

Appearance and growth

The Tigernut is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows horstig and is about 60 inches high. It forms thin, subterranean foothills - called stolons - with about pea-sized knot-like tubers. These have a thin skin and a white core that tastes nutty and slightly sweet. The light green stems are triangular, the leaves about one centimeter wide, the inflorescence consists of up to ten centimeters long ears. In July and August small straw-yellow flowers appear.


The edible underground tubers of the Tigernut have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, much like almonds

Location and ground

The Tigernut needs warm and sunny layers and a uniform soil moisture. She prefers loose sandy soils.

Sowing and planting

You can drive the plants by placing the overnight soaked almonds individually in small pots. Cover the tubers two centimeters high with soil and then set the pots at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius.
After sprouting, the young plants of the Tigernut are cultivated bright and cool and set after the last frosts directly in the outdoor bed. Choose a planting distance of 30 x 30 centimeters. Alternatively, medium-sized planters with loose and sandy substrate, in which you put two to three seedlings. At low temperatures, it is important to cover the plants with fleece, so that the growth does not stall. Important: Since tiger nuts can spread uncontrollably in the garden, especially in the warmer regions of Germany, you should surround the bed with a root barrier in case of doubt.


In general, the tigernut is a very easy to maintain culture. The plants need only be watered regularly in drought and need a dose of compost when planting in the bed (about one liter per square meter). The plants are not frost-resistant, but the tubers survive in mild winters in the ground and drift out in the spring. In cold locations, you should mulch the beds in the fall with a thick layer of leaves as a precaution and pick up a few tubers as propagating material. They are also capable of being drivable for several years in the dry state if they are allowed to swell in water overnight before setting. So you have propagation material for the next season, if the hibernation in the bed does not work out.

Harvest and recovery

From October, when the stalks are yellowed, you can harvest the tigernuts. To do this, dig out the rhizomes using a grave fork, shake off the soil and wash the tubers just before use. To clear the tubers completely of small stones and earth, it helps to clean the clumps with a sharp stream of water or soak them first in a bucket of water. Then the tigernuts can be skimmed off, dried like legumes and stored for up to two years. You can grind, cook or roast the tigernuts.
Roasted or flavored with cream, tigernuts serve as a side-dish. Tigernuts are a popular ingredient for cereals.Because of their high content of fiber and minerals, the small tubers are increasingly used in vegan dishes. They fill you up for a long time and are particularly suitable for people who can not tolerate nuts or gluten. In the trade also Erdmandelmehl is available, which can replace sugar thanks to its natural sweetness.


The popular in Spain almond milk is made from crushed tigernuts, water and some sugar. The liquid is filtered again before serving

variety Tips

  • 'Gigantes': large tubers that are relatively easy to clean
  • 'Big Round': largest globular tuber species with tubers up to two centimeters in diameter
  • 'Bright and Smooth': bright tart with a smooth shell

Diseases and pests

The tigernut is considered to be a robust and propagating vegetable, which is usually hardly susceptible to disease.

Video Board: Nutsedge or Water Grass In The Lawn.

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