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Know Your Weeds!
The IMAGE Online Guide to Tough Weeds
You can use the information below to help identify your troublesome weeds.

Annual Bluegrass ANNUAL BLUEGRASS aka Poa anna, poa
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
Very persistent self seeding winter annual or biennial
Short, narrow leaf blades with parallel edges and boat-shaped tip
Some leaf blades wavy
Germinates in late summer/early fall
Shallow-rooted, dying under heat or moisture stress
STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Leaf in bud:
folded
Collar:
narrow
top pinched
Ligule:
medium pointed
Bahiagrass BAHIAGRASS
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
Bahiagrass is a distinctive-looking, warm-season weed. Its leaves have a folded appearance and can be either smooth or hairy. Its seeds usually feature two or three branches. Bahiagrass is commonly found in the Gulf States, north to North Carolina and west to Texas.
Common Chickweed CHICKWEED (COMMON) aka starwort, winterweed
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A low-growing winter annual
Plant prefers shaded moist sites
Opposite small leaves are carried on tender stems
Stems may root at leaf nodes
Small compound flower composed of 5 pairs of two pale purple petals
Plants die back with summer heat, but can survive year round at cool sites
Chickweed CHICKWEED (MOUSEEAR)
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A prostrate perennial broadleaf weed with stems that root at the nodes to form dense patches. Seed leaves are rounded and lack hairs. True leaves are opposite, rounded on the ends, and are sessile (attached to the stem without a stalk). Hairs are prominent on the upper leaf surface and on stems of Mouseear, unlike Common Chickweed. Small, white, inconspicuous flowers are formed in clusters at the end of stems and have five petals, deeply divided to give appearance of 10 petals. Each petal is so deeply divided that flowers often appear to have ten petals rather than five.
crabgrass CRABGRASS aka summergrass or southern crabgrass
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A wide-bladed prostrate summer annual. Leaves may be hairy on upper surface. Stems will root at nodes. Collar area has sparse long hairs. Seedhead had 2-9 slender branches.
STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Leaf in bud:
rolled
Collar:
broad
Ligule:
medium
tooth and pointed
Cransbill CRANSBILL
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A perennial, grows from 1 to 2 feet high. The entire plant is erect and unbranched, more or less covered with hairs. The leaves are deeply parted with each division having clefts and toothed. Flowers are five petaled.
Cudweed CUDWEED
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A low-growing summer or winter annual, or biennial, that forms a rosette of grayish green woolly foliage. The first leaves asmooth, tapering gradually toward the base. The mature plant is sparsely branched, mostly erect, 8 to 20 inches (20 - 50 cm) tall. The flower heads are crowded, spike-like, and densely arranged on the stem or at the base of leaf stalks.It is found throughout the United States but most common in the South.
Dallisgrass DALLISGRASS
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A perennial grass, its rapid growth and profuse seed production enable it to quickly invade.  The mature plant forms loose bunches, 1 to 4 feet (30 - 120 cm) high. The flower head consists of 3 to 6 spikes that arise apart on the stem and often droop. The leaf sheath is somewhat flattened; at the base, it is hairy, often tinged red, and usually inflated.  It is typically found in the lower half of the United States.
Dandelion DANDELION
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A large rosette-type perennial herb. Leaves growing from plant base are long, narrow and deeply notched. Points of leaf lobes point backward toward base of plant. Has large, slightly mounded yellow flowers on hollow stems. Mature seedhead is a round puffball with seeds that are easily dislodged
Dichondra DICHONDRA
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A low-growing perennial plant sometimes used as a ground cover but which becomes weedy in some lawns. It spreads by creeping stolons and forms a dense mat. Leaves are circular, kidney-shaped, 1/4 to 1-1/2 inches (0.6 - 3.7 cm) wide, and alternate along the trailing stem. Flowers are inconspicuous.
Dollarweed DOLLARWEED aka pennywort
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
Dollarweed has green leaves that resemble scallops in shape. Its flowers can be found in elongated spikes or round clumps at the top of a long stalk. This weed is found in moist to wet sites. Dollarweed occurs from Virginia, south into Florida and west to Texas.
Florida Betony FLORIDA BETONY
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A perennial weed primarily of turfgrass and lawns with large, segmented underground tubers that resemble a rattlesnake's tail. The lance-shaped leaves with scalloped margins, stems that are square in cross section, and the 'rattlesnake' tubers are all characteristics that help in the identification. It is typically found throughout the southeastern United States.
Henbit HENBIT aka dead-nettle
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A mostly erect winter annual or biennial. Leaves are similar to mint:rounded, toothed, heavily veined with soft hairs on top, held opposite on square stems. Single flowers are trumpet shaped, pale purple and project from ends of stems. Seen primarily in spring, dying with heat.
Knotweed KNOTWEED
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A summer annual weed which can thrive on poor or compacted soil. The seed leaves are long, very narrow, rounded at the tip and light green with a white cast. The true leaves are much broader, emerging from an encircling, sheath at the leaf base. These stem nodes are slightly swollen giving the typical "knot"-like appearance from which the common name is derived. The mature plant grows prostrate to erect with slender, tough stems, which are extensively branched, giving it a zigzag appearance. The tiny, green flowers with white or pink margins sit in clusters of 2 to 5 on short stalks in leaf axils.
Lespedeza LESPEDEZA
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
Prostrate, freely-branched summer annual with inconspicuous purplish flowers forming mats 15 to 18 inches in diameter. Trifoliolate leaves with lance-shaped stipules, hairs along leaf margins, and pink to purple flowers. It is typically found throughout the southeastern United States.
Moneywort MONEYWORT
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A fast growing, prostrate plant with pairs or round, penny-sized leaves along the slender stems that snake out from the plant center. It grows approximately 2" tall.
Mustards MUSTARDS
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
Winter annuals with seedlings that have broad seed leaves with a deep notch at the tip. The first true leaves are bright green on the upper surface and paler below. Mature mustards have dense clusters of yellow flowers at the tips of branches. The seed pods are 1/2 to 3/4 inches (13 - 19 mm) long and approximately 1/12 inch (3.7 cm) broad. They are tipped with short slender beaks and stand close to the stem, often overlapping one another. Leaves are toothed, alternate, and are often deeply lobed, especially toward the base of the plant.
Vetch NARROWLEAF VETCH
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A trailing or climbing summer annual vine with leaves that are divided into 8 to 16 alternating leaflets.The leaves have a distinct stipule that occurs at the base of the leaf stem. Leaflets are narrowly elliptic to oval, usually longer than broad. It typically grows throughout Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama.
Yellow and Purple Nutsedge NUTSEDGE (YELLOW AND PURPLE)
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A very rapidly growing erect perennial herb Spreads by rhizomes with underground tubers Leaves are v-shaped with a prominent midrib tapering to a sharp point Stems are triangular Seedhead is semi-open, carrying yellow seeds.
Parsley Piert PARSLEY-PIERT
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A low growing winter annual.  The fan shaped, hairy leaves alternate on the stems.  The leaves contain 3 lobes and each lobe is subdivided again to 3-4 lobes.  Inconspicuous flowers in leaf axils.  It is typically found from Maryland through Tennessee and Georgia. 
Sandbur SANDBUR aka Sandspur
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A mostly prostrate, narrow-leafed summer annual that likes sandy soils
Distinctive yellow seedhead contains 6-20 large, sharply-burred seeds
Burred seeds can cause painful injury to unprotected feet or ankles
STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Leaf in bud:
folded
Collar:
broad
bottom pinched
Ligule:
hairy
smutgrass SMUTGRASS
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A tufted perennial with erect stems. Leaf blades are flat to usually folded at base of plant, becoming rounded toward tip. The seed head is very narrow or has spreading branches. Seeds are infected with a black fungus (smut) or they are unaffected and brown. It typically grows in the southeast from Virginia to Florida, over to Texas, including Oklahoma and Missouri.
Spurge SPURGE
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A perennial, erect annual with opposite, lanceolate leaves and a conspicuous white midvein, emiting a milky sap when broken. Leaves grow oppositely on short stalks and spreads to form a mat. It is typically found throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, and California.
Spurweed SPURWEED
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A winter annual germinating in the early fall months as temperatures cool and remains small or inconspicuous during the cold winter months. However, as temperatures warm, spurweed grows rapidly and begins to form spine-tipped burs found in the leaf axils (junction of leaf and stem) and has small, inconspicuous flowers. The sharp-tipped spiny burs of this weed can cause minor irritation to the skin. Leaves are opposite, sparse and hairy, divided into numerous segments or lobes. It grows up to 6 inches at a height of about 3 to 4 inches.
Swinecress SWINECREST
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
An annual weed with branching prostrate stems. Stems may spread 3 to 24 inches along the ground but tend to rise at the ends. Leaves are divided into narrow segments, are somewhat hairy, and may be toothed. Lower leaves on mature plants grow on short stalks; upper leaves are sessile (lacking a stem). Flowers are white and very small. Seed pods are deeply wrinkled and develop two lobes when mature.
Wild Onion and Garlic WILD ONION AND GARLIC
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
The flowers of this common, cool-season weed are small and greenish-white. It has a distinctive garlic odor when crushed. Wild garlic is found throughout most of the eastern and southern United States. Wild onion is often found on the same sites as wild garlic. This weed possesses a distinct onion-like scent, as well as slender, hollow, cylindrical leaves that grow in a clump grouping.
Woodsorrel WOODSORREL
DIAGNOSTIC TIPS:
A perennial grass that has alternate, compound leaves, each consisting of three heart-shaped leaflets resembling clover. Attractive yellow flowers, borne singly or in small groups, are very characteristic. The mature plant has creeping stems emerging from a slender taproot. The stems root at the nodes and invade larger areas. When seeds mature, pods open explosively, often spreading seeds 10 feet or more.  It is found throughout the United States.

Assorted photos are courtesy of:

  • Virginia Tech Weed ID Guide
  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
  • University of Georgia Crop and Soil Science


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