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weed seed identification chart

The primary issue with having this weed around your garden is that they are allelopathic. This, again, means that they secrete a chemical that inhibits the growth and germination of the plants that surround them. While they are beautiful and provide you with a treat in their seeds, having them too close to desired vegetation in your garden can impede the healthy growth of your other desirable vegetation.

A non-selective herbicide can be used to kill these weeds. Because of their voracious growth, it’s best to treat them with the chemical before the flowers have bloomed and the seeds are beginning to spread.

This summer annual plant can be difficult to control because of its various survival methods. Even after you think you have rid yourself of your purslane problems, new shoots will somehow defy the odds and emerge out of your turf.


A pre-emergent herbicide will suppress the germination of these weeds in your lawns and gardens. If mouse-ear chickweed has already appeared in your flower beds or gardens, a systemic herbicide like glyphosate will effectively kill the weed plants.

Flowers bloom from early spring through the late fall months. The flowers have 5 white petals and can be found in clusters on elongated stems. Each petal is deeply notched in the middle and gives the appearance of having two separate petals, but what you’re seeing is a single petal. The white flowers of the mouse ear chickweed are self-pollinated or pollinated by flies.

You can reduce the amount of Japanese boxwood by applying glyphosate, imazapyr, or a combination of both. But you must ensure that every last piece of the roots is dead or the plant will undoubtedly reemerge in the future.

Strategically placed, sunflowers can be advantageous to your garden by inhibiting the growth of weeds in your garden. In fact, it can make a good companion plant to certain vegetables like cucumbers.

The next larger grouping above genus is family. Some of the better-known plant families in agriculture include the grass family (including cereal grains, corn, sorghum, millets, and pasture grasses); the legume family (including peas, beans, clovers, and alfalfa); the brassica family (including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and mustards); and the nightshade family (including tomato, potato, pepper, and eggplant).

Figure 3. Structures on a broadleaf weed or crop. Figure credit: Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming.

Plant Families

A plant’s species name can be spelled out in Latin (its scientific name, e.g., Amaranthus retroflexus) or in plain English (its common name, e.g., redroot pigweed). Scientific names are more precise, as each species has just one valid scientific name at any one time. They are also less descriptive and a little harder to pronounce, especially for those of us who did not take Latin in school.

Figure 9. Leaf structures. Figure credit: Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming.

Knowing a weed’s plant family is important, as many economically important crops have weedy relatives in the same family, which may harbor insect pests or pathogens of the crop, or in some cases cross-breed with the crop itself. Occasionally, the weedy relative can play a beneficial role, acting as a trap crop to divert pests from the cash crop, or supporting important natural enemies of the pests as well as the pests themselves.