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Weed ID Guide


Common ragweed is found throughout the United States, causing problems in many crops. It is also the primary cause of hayfever for many allergy sufferers. Ragweed is a robust, competitive weed, reaching over 8 feet in height. It posesses finely serrated leaves and grows upright with moderate branching. There are two other weedy species of ragweed – giant ragweed and lanceleaf ragweed, but these do not generally cause problems in peanut crops.

Yellow and Purple Nutsedge are perennial species that rank among the most troublesome weeds throughout the world. These species can be distinguished on the basis of leaves and tubers. Yellow nutsedge is typically a large sprawling, pale green plant with leaves that gradually taper at the tip. Purple nutsedge is a more compact, dark, almost greasy-green plant with somewhat more blunt-tipped leaves. Purple nutsedge tubers are dark, wiry, and connected in chains. Tubers of yellow nutsedge are not connected from plant to plant.

Sicklepod and Coffee Senna, both sometimes referred to as “coffee weed,” are weedy cousins that look very similar just after emergence. Seedlings of these species can be separated by the presence/absence of hairs along the stem of the cotyledons. Sicklepod is hairless, while coffee senna has numerous hairs where the cotyledons are attached to the main stem. On larger plants, leaflets of sicklepod are rounded while coffee senna leaflets are pointed. Seed pods of sicklepod curve downward; seed pods of coffee senna curve upward. Of the two, sicklepod is a more common pest.

Yellowtop, also known as golden crownbeard, is a summer annual broadleaf weed that is commonly found in peanut fields in Texas and parts of Oklahoma. It grows up to 3 feet tall with much-branched, grayish green leaves


Wild radish is thought to be a problem in winter crops such as small grains and canola. However, wild radish has become an increasing problem in peanuts in recent years. This plant forms a rosette of leaves that look similar to mustard greens. The leaves have deeply indented lobes and are covered with numerous stiff hairs. As the plant matures, pale yellow flowers are produced on a seed-stalk that arises from the rosette.

Florida beggarweed is an annual broadleaf with trifoliate leaves. It often attains heights well over 5 feet. The leaflets are lance-shaped with a characteristic purple spot and numerous, small hairs that give a velcro-like feel. The seeds are also covered with fine hairs that readily stick to clothing and the fur of animals. Florida beggarweed is one of the worst weeds in Southeastern peanuts.

Eclipta is an annual broadleaf pest considered to be a “wet weather” weed in many parts of the Peanut Belt. Its narrow leaves range from 1 to 5 inches in length and up to about an inch wide. Eclipta produces a distinct white, round flower about half the size of a dime. Plant growth habit is either upright or prostate. In the prostrate or spreading form, eclipta commonly roots at nodes.


Common lambsquarters is a small seeded annual broadleaf species particularly troublesome in the Virginia-Carolina region. It is an upright plant which can exceed 7 feet at maturity. Its arrowhead-shaped grow alternate and leaves often have a whitish dusty appearance on their undersides even in the seedling stage.
Texas panicum is an aggressive, relatively large-seeded annual grass that is common in much of the peanut acreage in the United States. It has wide, almost-frizzy leaf blades and forms numerous tillers. Its vigorous fibrous root system makes clean harvest of peanuts nearly impossible.

Spurred anoda is a troublesome broadleaf member of the Mallow or Cotton family most common in the Virginia-Carolina area. Its alternate toothed leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and sometimes have purplish veins. It produces small, pale blue flowers and a unique fruit that looks like a fancy ribbed pie surrounded by a star.


Wild poinsetta is an exotic weed pest spreading in many parts of the Southeast. As a member of the Spurge Family, it has hollow stems and milky, latex-like sap. In the cotyledon stage, it resembles a weak, pale green cocklebur seedling. Mature plants can have numerous leaf shapes even on a single specimen.


Hophorn copperleaf is a freely branching annual broadleaf weed with finely serrated leaf edges. Copperleaf has bright green leaves throughout most of the growing season, but these turn a characteristic copper color as the plant reaches maturity in the fall. There is a related species referred to as Virginia Copperleaf.

Redweed or chocolateweed is an annual broadleaf species that can infest peanut fields. This weed possesses triangular-shaped leaves with jagged margins. The younger stems may have a reddish color. Redweed grows upright but may lean as the plant matures, exhibiting a more semi-prostrate habit.


Palmar amaranth is an annual pigweed species that is becoming an increasing problem in some areas. It can reach heights well over 6 feet and can be very difficult to control once established. Unlike other pigweed species, Palmar amaranth has a long, slender seed head and a more robust appearance.


Bristly starbur is an annual broadleaf weed common in much of the Southeast. In addition to the accepted common name, it is also called “goatspur” or “Texas sandspur.” It has rough textured “fuzzy” leaves and an upright but profusely branching growth habit. Its seed form with two sharp pointed prongs that make the mature plant extremely “bristly.”


Pitted morningglory is one of several annual morningglory species that occurs in peanuts. Its cotyledon leaves are deeply cleft and pointed. Its heart-shaped true leaves lack hairs and frequently have a purple margin. It produces small white flowers.

Prickly sida, also known as teaweed and ironweed, is an annual broadleaf weed that becomes rather woody as it matures. It has serrated leaves that range in size from 1 to 2 inches long and a third to two thirds of an inch wide. Prickly sida produces small pale yellow flowers on a distinct stalk.

Spider flower is also called Cleome or skunk weed and has a strong, pungent odor. It is found in localized areas throughout the southeast and can be a problem in peanut production. Spider flower will form a cluster of leaves at the base, with three to five leaflets per stem. It has a characteristic purple cast and will grow 2 to 3 feet in height. Spider flower will produce white or yellow flowers and long thin seed pods similar to that of wild radish or sicklepod.

Florida pusley is a low growing, annual weedy species that appears almost prostrate. It can be effectively controlled only with pre-plant incorporated herbicides. Florida pusley has bright green leaves with a distinctive recessed mid-vein. The stems are very hairy and may have a purplish appearance. The flowers are white with six petals in a star-shaped whorl.
Burgherkin is a member of the cucurbit family and is similar to many cultivated melon-type species. The leaves are deeply serrated with heavy pubescence (hairs). The fruit are 2-3 inches long, watermelon-shaped, and covered with numerous soft prickles. Burgherkin vines may extend 6-10 feet from the rooting stem and cause severe problems with harvesting. In addition, the fruit will be harvested with the peanuts causing contamination and drying problems.

Tall morningglory can be found in many peanut fields. Similar to other morningglory species, tall morningglory has a vining, prostrate appearance that envelopes the peanut canopy. Tall morningglory possesses heart-shaped leaves with over-lapping lobes at the base and slightly hairy stems.

Small flower morningglory is probably the most common morningglory species in the Southeast and can be a serious problem in peanut production. In the cotyledon stage it resembles a wild radish seedling, with heart shaped cotyledons. As it grows, small flower morningglory will stand nearly erect until 12 to 18 inches tall then begin to run. It has heart or spear-shaped leaves and produces small blue flowers in a head-like cluster.

Tropic croton is an upright, branching annual broadleaf with serrated leaves. Tropic croton has a rough hairy stem, but it is not as hairy as the related species, wooly croton. Its gray-brown seed are a desirable food for doves.

Tropical spiderwort is an annual species similar to common dayflower. It is distinguished from dayflower by the presence of subterranean (underground) flowers. The leaves are spoon-shaped with parallel venation and blue above-ground flowers. The stems are succulent, and the plant re-roots quickly after cultivation. It spreads by seeds and is becoming one of the most prevalent and troublesome weeds in peanut production. Spiderwort germinates throughout the season, hampering control efforts.