Teki is scientifically named in Latin as Cyperus rotundus. Popularly in English, this plant is known as nut grass, purple nutsedge, Java grass, water grass or red grass.
In Malaysia, this plant is popularly known as haliya hitan grass, notha in Pakistan and balisanga in the Philippines. Meanwhile, in India, this plant is popular under the names nagarmotha, deela, kolai or gantola.
The genus name Cyperus comes from the word Cypeiros which is a name in ancient Greek. Meanwhile, the specific name, rotundus, is a Latin word meaning round which refers to the shape of the tubers on the plant (Imam et al., 2014).
Cyperus rotundus or better known as teki in Indonesia is believed to originate from India. However, many botanists also believe that this species originates from the northern and eastern regions of Australia.
Currently, the more widely accepted distribution of this species comes from the tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World, especially the African continent and the Eurasian region including Indonesia (the island of Java, the Nusa Tenggara islands, Maluku, Sulawesi and Sumatra) where its presence can be found. in the region's 92 countries (J Rojas-Sandoval & P Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2022).
Teki is a long-lived grass plant with a height that can reach up to 50 cm. This species can produce a network of creeping underground stems with small tubers measuring approximately 10 - 25 mm long.
The stem stands in an upright position and has three angles in the cross-section of its narrow leaves. The stem has a smooth surface and is covered in crests at the base.
Meanwhile, the seed heads generally have 3 to 8 branches of varying lengths and are covered with 2 to 4 green leaf bracts. These branches have several reddish brown or purplish brown flowers with an elongated shape measuring 10 to 25 mm long and 2 - 2.5 mm wide.
Teki can grow in various types of soil and can survive weather with high temperatures. This plant can be found in various habitats such as agricultural land, plantations, waste areas, grasslands, river banks, sand banks, irrigation canals, and other natural empty lands.
Teki is a type of grass that is said to be one of the worst weeds in the world. This species has been reported in more than 90 countries where it grows as a weed on at least 52 different cropland types worldwide (J Rojas-Sandoval & P Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2022). Its invasive nature occurs because when it is removed, the rhizomes that are still left in the soil will grow back in greater numbers (Rahmadi R, 2024).
Benefits of Teki for Health and Other Uses
Even though it has been declared as one of the worst weeds in the world, where its presence can threaten plantation production, several research sources claim that Cyperus rotundus or teki or nut grass has benefits for health and the environment.
In India, through the ancient Ayurvedic medical records Charaka Samhita, it is stated that teki known as musta or musta moola churna has been used in traditional medicine to treat fever, digestive system disorders, dysmenorrhea and other diseases (Imam et al., 2014).
Its use in pharmaceutical production has also been carried out, especially in India and China, with its properties used to treat deuretics, anthelmintics, coughs, bronchial asthma, and fever. Meanwhile, for the environment, teki or nut grass plants can help the process of binding the soil (J Rojas-Sandoval & P Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2022). However, its negative qualities as an invasive weed seem to far outweigh its usefulness.
Another study conducted by Ashraf et al. (2010) through an analysis method of 36 types of plants collected in an old mining area called Bestari Jaya managed to find that teki has quite high potential through its ability to absorb heavy metals, especially tin (Rahmadi R, 2024).
Meanwhile, several compounds contained in teki or nut grass include flavonoids, alkaloids, sesquiterpenoids, tannins, and saponins in the roots and leaves. Meanwhile, some of the vegetable ingredients in sedge grass are said to be used as insect repellent, antifungal, anti-microbial and toxin compounds (KUSUMAWARDANI, KOMANG DEMA, 2018).