The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
. 4 -
Common Names of Weeds
American burnweed, fireweed
Artillery weed, artillery fern
Cape weed, creeping charlie, matchweed
Garden spurge, hairy spurge
Oldfield toadflax, blue toadflax
Panicum (no common name)
Precatory bean, rosery pea, crab-eye
Southern sida, teaweed, ironweed
Modern methods of weed control require that
the farmer, rancher, nurseryman, citrus grower, in-
dustrialist, and even the home owner be able to
identify weeds so that proper control measures can
be applied. The need for a guide to the identification
of the more common weeds has become critical as
recommended herbicidal chemicals have become in-
In the spring of 1966, herbicide specialists in
Florida learned that a team of College, Experiment
Station and Extension Service personnel in Georgia,
headed by Dr. James F. Miller, Extension Agron-
omist, had, with the aid of a federal grant, under-
taken the task of compiling a weed identification
guide to be called "Weeds of the Southern United
States". A committee of weed scientists was immedi-
ately formed from within the Florida Weed Work-
shop* to offer cooperation to the Georgia specialists.
The Florida committee soon realized that many of
the weeds considered troublesome in Florida were
not important on a regional basis and would not be
included in "Weeds of the Southern United States".
Thus, the preparation of a Florida Agricultural Ex-
periment Station publication was initiated to supple-
ment the regional bulletin.
Whereas the regional publication includes many
Botanical Names of Weeds
weeds that are common in and important to Florida,
the series of supplements do and will include only
Florida weeds of economic importance not shown
in the regional !ull. 'in The supplements are in-
tended to serve as guides to the identification of
The authors wish to thank Dr. James F. Miller
for permitting the use of "plant family" descriptions
from "Weeds of the Southern United States". The
authors acknowledge the assistance of the Florida
Weed Workshop members and Dr. Daniel B. Ward,
Botanist, University of Florida. Whenever possible
the botanical and common names (first common name
listed) of weeds used in the text are those recom-
mended by The Sub-committee on Standardization of
Common and Botanical Names of Weeds as published
in Weeds 14:347-386. 1966.
Many aquatic weeds and those common to wet
situations mav be identified by the use of Common
Aquatic Weeds, Agricultural Handbook No. 352
which is available at a cost of 50 cents from the
Superintendent of Public Documents, Washington,
D. C. 20402.
"An unofficial group comprised of all Florida weed workers
which meets together once each year.
Annual, reddish-green branching stems to 4 feet. Leaves
1 to 2 inches across, broadly oval. Lower flowers widely
spaced with younger flowers concentrated near the tip
of a narrow 12 inch rachis. Small elongated seed have
two sharp spines by which fruit attach to clothing, hide
or skin. Infests groves, cultivated fields and fence rows.
''' H in i i x .\ ri i'.u 'K five sta en adi' "iri cu l` nisi:
Perennial twining vine with milky sap and opposite
leaves, arrowhead to heart-shaped. Flowers inconspicuous,
greenish-yellow, borne in leaf axils. Seed pods usually
found in treetops, resemble small avocados in size and
shape, turning brown at maturity. Seeds tufted at one
end with silky white hair pappuss). Found mainly
in citrus groves.
Annual in north, perennial in south Florida. Three to
6 feet tall; leaves alternate, toothed, larger on lower stem.
Flowers small, yellowish green, without petals, in loose
cymes borne at tips of errect branches. Foliage is
aromatic. Found in citrus groves, fence rows, and pastures.
(Composite or Sunflower family)
American burnweed, fireweed
Annual. May be perennial in south Florida. Green stems,
branching to 4 feet. Leaf blades, usually flat, sharply
and unevenly lobed. Flowers pale yellow, mostly
terminal. Found in citrus groves, pastures, cultivated
fields, home grounds and nurseries.
Annual or perennial, green stems, branching, to 4 feet.
Leafblades deeply lobed, lobes tipped with soft spines.
Flowers pale yellow, mostly terminal, closing into tight
buds in afternoon. Sonchus asper, (spiny sowthistle) is
quite similar. Lobes of leaf tipped with rigid, sharp
spines. Citrus groves, pastures, cultivated fields, home
Annual, tufted herbs with tall naked flower stalks.
Leaves basal with elongated narrow blades. Plants 4 to 8
inches tall. Flower scapes have unequal bracts. Seed
heads dull brown at maturity. Found in cultivated fields.
Often only weed present on newly cleared land.
. J. t
garden spurge, hairy spurge
Annual herb. Has milky juice. Leaves opposite, blades
eliptic, often prominently red-blotched. Branches hairy.
Flowers inconspicuous, borne in large clusters in leaf
axils, seldom terminal. Plant may attain height of 12
inches. Found in home grounds, cultivated fields, citrus
groves, and pastures.
Aidi 'VC Im
Annual, with decumbent branching shoots 1 to 3 feet
long which root at the nodes. Usually light green. Leaf
blades are thick, up to 1 inch wide and 8 inches long.
Spikes alternate on erect seed stalk, to 8 inches. Mainly
infests cultivated fields. Juvenile plants similar to
Panicum adspersuon in appearance.
Panicum (no common name)
Annual with decumbent branching shoots 1 to 3 feet
long which root at the nodes. Leaf blades dark green
up to 1 inch wide and up to 6 inches long. Spikes in
loose panicle, seed stalk erect to 6 inches. Mainly an
infestant of cultivated fields. Readily distinguished from
Brachiaria plantaginea by panicle appearance in
Perennial with bunch-like development from short, heavy
rhizomes. Shoots erect with light green leaf blades up
to 1 inch wide and up to 30 inches long. Flowering
shoots to 3 feet tall. A cultivated tropical forage, an
infestant of ditchbanks, fence rows, waste places, and
Perennial. Strongly stoloniferous, to 20 feet long. Stems
reclining, rooting at joints, 6 to 10 feet high, robust,
leaf blades smooth, 6 to 8 inches long, the sheath hairy.
Flowering panicles 8 to 16 inches long: numerous
spiketlets on crowed raceme. Found in ditches, citrus
groves, pastures, cultivated land and home grounds.
May be annual or perennial. Stem producing creeping
rootstock very stout, smooth, to 6 feet with long internodes.
Leaves broad, short, with sheath clasping stem. Seed-head
is two-pronged, arising from tip of stem. Seed-stalk is
normally not more than 6 inches long. Found in moist
pastures, fence rows, and cultivated areas where irrigation
is used. Known in the west coast area of Florida as
Perennial, with robust, woody, cane-like stems 6 to 12
feet tall. Leaf blades are long and range from %/I. to 11/.
inches wide. The long, stiff, brush-like brownish panicle
is 3 to 6 inches long. An introduced forage, Napiergrass
primarily infests roadsides, and ditch and canal banks and
some sugarcane fields. It is falsely called "maidencane."
Perennial willowy plant to 3 feet, forms many creeping
stolons. Seed-stalks slender, i.llddW-'., with 3 to 5 slender
racemes (prongs) spreading from the top. Seed is not
viable and reproduction must be from vegetative parts.
Pangolagrass is important only when established pasture
areas are fitted for citrus or vegetable culture.
Perennial. Propagated by seed. Leaves vary up to 1,. inch
in width (depending on variety), are sharp-pointed
and dark green in color. Seed borne on two-pronged
seed-head which may be 2 feet high. Plants enlarge by
runners. Three named varieties are Pensacola (pictured),
Paraguay, and Argentine. Found as a weed in home
grounds and citrus groves. Argentine and Pr.li ,-.u .
are widely used in lawn grasses both seeded and sodded.
precatory bean, rosery pea, crab-eye
Annual or perennial twining vine to 15 feet. Leaves
alternate on stem, pinnate. Flowers small, rose to white,
borne in dense axillary racemes. Seed bright red with
black spot, very poisonous. Found in orange groves,
home grounds, fence rows, and nurseries.
southern sida, teaweed, ironweed
Annual or perennial. Deep rooted, stems smooth,
branched to 3 feet. Leaves dark green and rugose.
Flowers showy, opening during middle of day. Common
in citrus groves, nurseries, home grounds.
Perennial. Woody weed or shrub, stem woody, branched
to 6 feet. Leaf blades oval, lobed, slightly toothed.
Flowers large, rose colored, single in leaf axils, hibiscus
like. Fruit of 5 loosely united carpels (nut like segments)
separating at maturity. Seed coat hard, brown and
armed with barbed spines. Nurseries, citrus groves, home
grounds. Seed resistant to steaming and chemical
: Argemone mexicana
Winter-spring annual. Plant herbaceous, hairy, spiny
to 3 feet with yellowish sap. Leaves blotched, light green,
to 10 inches long, deeply lobed and spiny-toothed with
spines along midrib. Flowers, broad, yellow, poppy-like.
Elipsoidal seed capsule is armed with spines. An infestant
of roadsides, wasteplaces, and cultivated fields.
oldfield toadflax, blue toadflax
Winter annual. Weak stems, dark green, much branched,
prostrate. Leaves fleshy, elongate to 1 inch, scattered
on stem. Flowering racemes ascending at tips of branches
to one foot high. Flowers look like snapdragons and
vary in color from almost white to pink to blue. Found
in citrus groves, pastures, cultivated fields, home grounds
(Aizoaceae) (Carpetweed family)
Annual, depressed, creeping, succulent herbs diffusely
branched at base. Single plant up to 6 feet in diameter.
Stem and leaves reddish colored; leaves mostly obovate,
opposite, in unequal size pairs. Inconspicuous pink to
purple flowers borne in axils of leaves. Found in nurseries,
shade houses, cultivated (mostly muck) soils, and
other damp situations.
Perennial in frost-free zones. Leaf blades are dark green
and almost circular with shallow, broad marginal lobes.
Leaves borne on short, slender, white stems. Plants
spread in creeping fashion. An infestant of wet soil areas.
Found in damp areas of nurseries, lawns, pastures, and
in moist cultivated fields.
Winter-spring annual, particularly under moist, cool,
and shady soil conditions. Plant light green with white,
succulent (4 to 20 inch) many-branched stems. Leaves
ovate and flowers inconspicuous. An infestant of
sugarcane, nurseries, seedbeds, and shady, moist sites.
Very common weed in Everglades muck farming area.
artillery weed, artillery fern
Annual or perennial, depressed, creeping, succulent herb.
Leaves mainly alternate and very small (1/8 inch).
Flower clusters axillary, with stalks as long as leaves.
Found in nurseries, green and shade-houses, cultivated
(muck) fields, and almost all damp situations. Sometimes
used as ground cover for shaded situations. Often
potted as a houseplant.
** '*" .,l|, t. a
Perennial, woody shrub with prickle armed branches.
Leaf blades toothed. Flowers usually cream, yellow or
pink later changing to orange or scarlet; borne in compact,
flat-topped -piL s. Citrus groves, home grounds,
capeweed, creeping charlie, matchweed
Perennial creeping herb.
middle to tip. Creeping
purplish or nearly white;
from leaf axils on 3 to 5
pastures, home grounds,
Leaf blades toothed from
branches to 3 feet. Flowers
borne in congested spikes
inch stalks. Citrus groves,
hiiet- ii ',i or s,('j) ; ir;ilin^ h iii tlo likc' ,
Summer annual. Prostrate branches, flower stalks, and
leaf petioles reddish. Leaflets are even pinnate. Flowers,
bright yellow borne on 1 to 2 inch axillary stalk.
Dry fruit separates into 3 spiny nut-like carpels.
Road sides, pastures, citrus groves, home grounds.
Sometimes used as a ground cover.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Dean