The effect of single and daily alternating temperature cycles on elongation of emerged buds of purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) was characterized to determine whether shoot elongation responded to alternating temperature as a thermoperiodic function. Glasshouse-grown tubers with emerged buds of 2 to 5 mm in length were used in experiments. Shoot extension increased at 35 °C after 7 days, but no significant shoot extension occurred at all other constant temperatures of 20, 25, 30, 40, and 45 °C. However, 2- to 8-fold increases in shoot extension occurred at alternating temperatures of 25/15, 30/20, 35/25, 40/30, 41/35, 42/38, and 45/35 °C (12/12 hours) as compared to the respective mean constant temperatures. Daily temperature differences of 2 and 4 °C did not stimulate shoot elongation, while temperature differences of 8 and 12 °C caused an 8-fold shoot stimulation when compared to the 24 °C constant temperature. Shoot elongation increased with increasing numbers of alternating temperature cycles. The optimal duration of the lower and upper temperature phases differed depending on temperature regimes; at 40/30 °C, maximal elongation occurred with daily exposures of 40 °C for 1 to 3 hours and 30 °C for 23 to 21 hours respectively, while at 30/20 °C, maximal elongation occurred with daily exposures of 30 °C for 15 hours and 20 °C for 9 hours. These results suggest that elongation of purple nutsedge tuber buds responds to alternating temperature as a thermoperiodic function.