KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring WeedsVolume 15, Number 4 - June 1969

Common Spring Weeds

by James S. Wilson
Illustrations by Robert J. Boles

 

ABOUT THIS ISSUE

Published by: The Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia

Prepared and Issued by: The Department of Biology,
with the cooperation of the Division of Education

Editor: Robert J. Boles

Editorial Committee: Ina M. Borman, Robert F. Clarke, Gilbert A. Leisman, Bernadette Menhusen, David F. Parmelee, Carl W. Prophet

Online format by: Terri Weast

The Kansas School Naturalist is sent upon request, free of charge, to Kansas teachers, school board members and administrators, librarians, conservationists, youth leaders, and other adults interested in nature education. Back numbers are sent free as long as supply lasts, except Vol. 5, No.3, Poisonous Snakes of Kansas. Copies of this issue may be obtained for 25 cents each postpaid. Send orders to The Kansas School Naturalist, Department of Biology, Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas, 66801.

The Kansas School Naturalist is published in October, December, February, and April of each year by The Kansas State Teachers College, 1200 Commercial Street, Emporia, Kansas, 66801. Second-class postage paid at Emporia, Kansas.

"Statement required by the Act of October, 1962: Section 4369, Title 39, United States Code, showing Ownership, Management and Circulation." The Kansas School Naturalist is published in October, December, February, andApril. Editorial Office and Publication Office at 1200 Commercial Street, Emporia, Kansas, 66801. The Naturalist is edited and published by the Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas. Editor, John Breukelman, Department of Biology.


Editor's note: The industrious young man shown on the cover is Mark, the 9-year-old son of the author. Out of fairness to Dr. Wilson, it should be pointed out that the picture was not token in his yard, as he has one of the prettiest lawns in the city.


Common Spring Weeds

by James S. Wilson
Illustrations by Robert J. Boles

 

WHAT ARE WEEDS AND WHERE DO THEY GROW?

A weed is any plant out of place in man's realm. Blue grass and bermuda grass, our most common lawn grasses in Kansas, are considered weeds in a garden because they are unwanted there. Since man began the practice of cultivating and development of villages and towns, there have been weeds competing with desired plants for space, light, etc. In Kansas, where the natural prairies have been disturbed, weeds have been a continual problem. These disturbances of the vegetation and soil allow for many weed species
to invade an area that normally could not support them. For example, the mowing of a lawn favors not only grasses but also certain low-growing weeds such as dandelion and chickweed. Cultivation of farm land exposes soil which then becomes suitable for sun-loving, weedy plants such as smartweeds and sunflowers. Overgrazing of pastures produces an abundance of such weeds as broomweed and ironweed since these weeds are usually not particularily palatable to stock whereas the more palatable plants are quickly eaten and eventually eliminated.

WHERE DO WEEDS COME FROM?

Weeds usually come from other countries. In fact, many of the weeds listed in this publication are from other continents where they mayor may not be considered as weeds. When a plant is introduced in one country from another it usually has no natural enemies in the new area and, if aggressive, can quickly colonize and overpopulate many types of disturbed areas.

WHY ARE WEEDS DETRIMENTAL?

Often times weeds are not harmful. For example, they may quickly colonize an exposed area and bind the soil so effectively that erosion, such as occurred in Kansas in the 1930s, is considerably reduced. However, in cultivated fields, pastures and lawns weeds are often detrimental since they do compete aggressively and usually quite successfully with the desired plants for water, minerals, light, etc. It has been estimated that the annual loss of crops due to competition from weeds is greater than 10% of our total crop production.

WHAT ARE THE BASIC TYPES OF WEEDS?

There are spring and summer weeds. Spring weeds usually germinate from seeds in late summer, fall, or early spring, grow during favorable days throughout the period and flower and seed during the spring. Summer weed seeds germinate in late spring or early summer only after the soil has warmed and produce their flowers and seeds in summer of fall. Most spring weeds have had their origin in the colder regions of the world whereas most summer weeds are from warmer (southern) parts of the world.

WHAT ARE COMMON CONTROL METHODS FOR WEEDS?

Weed control today involves many different kinds of activities. It ranges from proper soil management
to selective herbicides. The first control used in cultivated fields was hoeing and pulling of weeds. Later toxic compounds such as arsenics, oils, salts, carbon disulfide and others were used in attempts to control
weed populations. But these chemical agents have one disadvantage in that they are broad spectrum and essentially kill all plant life, good or bad, in an area. It is only within the last few years that a real breakthrough in weed control has occurred. This has come about through the production of selective herbicides.

Perhaps the greatest boon to farmers as well as home owners with lawns has been the selective pre-emergence herbicides. These work particularily well on the summer weed populations in which seed germination normally occurs when the soil is warm in May. These weeds are quite sensitive to cold weather. If they can be made to germinate their seeds in March by use of pre-emergent herbicides and, if a freeze occurs after they germinate, all of the seedlings will die. This has worked successfully in control of crabgrass, foxtail grass, knotweed and other weeds in lawns and cultivated fields.

A number of other herbicides are also used in the control of weeds in lawns, cultivated lands and pastures. These include the widely known types such as 2, 4-D, CDAA-TBC and others. The 2, 4-D related type of compounds work best on the broad-leafweeds whereas the CDAA-TBC are more effective on the narrow-leafed plants such as grasses and sedges. Great care must be exercised in the use of these 2, 4-D and CDAA-TBC type herbicides in that they are not specific and can kill most vegetation which comes in contact with the spray.

KEY TO COMMON KINDS OF WEEDS
(BASED ON FLOWER COLOR)

FLOWERS GREEN OR BROWN
1. Leaves all at ground level; flowers in 0 pencil-like spike Plantain (p 6)
1. Leaves borne on aerial stem 2
2. Leaves more than 1 inch wide; large plants Dock (p 7)
2. Leaves less than 1/2 inch wide; grass-like plants 3
3. Stems 3-sided, triangular in cross section Sedges (p 7)
3. Stems round, circular in cross section 4
4. Green flowers covered with silky hairs Silky Brome (p 7)
4. Green flowers without hairs Japanese Brome (p 8)

FLOWERS YELLOW OR WITH YELLOW CENTERS AND WHITE OR LAVENDER MARGINS

1. Flowers all yellow 2
1. Flowers with yellow centers and white or lavender margins Daisy Fleabane (p 8)
2. Leaves with lobes or deeply dissected (carrot-like) 3
2. Leaves without lobes; margins (sides) toothed Wall Flower (p 8)
3. Leaves deeply dissected, without 3 leaflets 4
3. Leaves with 3 leaflets 5
4. Leaves all at base of plant; flowers 1 inch or more wide Dandelion (p 9)
4. Leaves borne on aerial stems; flowers less than 3/4 of on inch wide Tansy Mustard (p 9)
5. Plants 1 1/2-4 ft. high Yellow Sweet Clover (p 9)
5. Plants less than 1 1/2 ft. high 6
6. Petals indistinct; flowers numerous, small, borne in clover-like heads Black Medic (p 10)
6. Petals distinct,5; flowers borne in a cluster of 1-5 Sheep Sorrel (p 10)

FLOWERS WHITE

1. Petals 6 in each flower; leaves narrow, grass-like 2
1. Petals 4 or 5 in each; leaves wide, not grass-like 3
2. Flower cluster wider than high (never over 3 inches high); leaves, when crushed, with odor of onion or garlic Onion (p 10)
2. Flowers borne in spike 4 inches or more long Death Cama (p 11)
3. Leaves opposite, 2 or mare at a node 4
3. Leaves alternate, one at a node 6
4. Leaves 4-8 at a node Bedstraw (p 11)
4. Leaves 2 at a node 5
5. Leaves with teeth on margin Speedwell (p 11)
5. Leaves entire, without teeth Chickweed (p 12)
6. Leaves deeply dissected, carrot-like, feathery or lobed 7
6. Leaves entire or serrate, not leathery or lobed 12
7. Leaves carrot-like, feathery 8
7. Leaves lobed or hand-like 10
8. Plants 3 ft. or more high Poison Hemlock (p 12)
8. Plants less than I 1/2 ft. high 9
9. Plants greenish, without white hairs Creeping Chervil (p 12)
10. Flower cross-shaped; petals 4 Shepherd's-Purse (p 13)
10. Flowers not cross-shaped; petals 5 11
11. Flowers star-shaped, 2-4 in cluster Carolina Geranium (p 13)
11. Flowers not star-shaped, numerous in a long spoke Delphinium (p 13)
12. Some leaves 1/2 inch or more wide; petals 4 Pennycress (p 14)
12. All leaves less than 1/2 inch wide; petals 2,4 or 5 13
13. Petals 5, fused to one another; leaves with many hairs Corn Gromwell (p 14)
13. Petals 2 or 4, separate; leaves without hairs Pepper Grass (p 14)

PETALS PINK, LAVENDER, PURPLE OR BLUE

1. Leaves all at ground level 2
1. Leaves borne on aerial stem 3
2. Leaves heart-shaped; flowers one on a stem Violet (p 15)
2. Leaves long and narrow and with many lobes or leaflets; flowers many on a stem Locoweed (p 16)
3. Petals 6; leaves narrow, grass-like, with on odor of onion or garlic when crushed Onion (p 10)
3. Petals 4 or 5; leaves not onion-like 4
4. Leaves opposite, 2 at a node 5
4. Leaves alternate, one at a node 6
5. Upper leaves without petioles (leaf stalks) Henbit (p 15)
5. Upper leaves with petioles Speedwell (p 11)
6. Leaves palmate (hand-like), circular in outline; flowers star-shaped, borne in clusters on stems less than 3 inches long Carolina Geranium (p 13)
6. Leaves long and narrow, with many leaflets; flowers not star-shaped, borne on a stem 4 inches or more long  7
7. Leaves with 16 or more leaflets Ground Plum (p 15)
7. Leaves with 10 or fewer leaflets Delphinium (p 13)

REFERENCES

Gales, F. C. 1941. Weeds in Kansas, Vol. 60; Kansas Siale Boord of Agricullure, Topeka.

Schroder, L. L., R. C. Kinch and E. E. Sanderson 1956. South Dakota Weeds, Agriculture Extension Service, South Dakota State College, Brookings.

Stevens, W. C. 1948. Kansas Wild Flowers; University of Kansas Press, Lawrence.

WOOLY PLANTAIN (Plantago purshii)
Plantain Family

Wooly plantain is an annual, grayish-green weed common in open disturbed areas. The flowers are small, borne in a spike and generally inconspicuous. Several other closely related species (all having basal leaves), which are quite similar, occur throughout much of the state.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 2-10 INCHES; NATIVE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

DOCK (Rumex altissimus)
Smartweed Family

Tall dock is a perennial weed common in low wet areas, ditches and roadsides. The greenish flowers, which are borne in large open clusters, eventually produce dark brown fruits (seeds) in June or July. The plants are large, coarse and produce numerous large leaves in spring and a cluster of basal leaves in the fall. Several closely related and similar species occur throughout much of the slate.

PERENNIAL; HEIGHT 1-5 FEET; NATIVE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

SEDGE (Carex spp.)
Sedge Family

Carex sedge, a perennial weed, occurs in low fields, ditches, lawns and pastures throughout the state, particularly the eastern one half. The plants resemble grasses but can be distinguished from them by their 3-sided triangular stems (in grasses they are round). The spike-like cluster of greenish Flowers are usually produced during May and June and the tan fruits (seeds) in late June or July.

PERENNIAL; HEIGHT 6-18 INCHES; NATIVE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

SILKY BROMEGRASS (Bromus tedorum)
Grass Family

Silky bromegrass is a common winter annual which makes most of its growth during early spring. It is common in open disturbed areas such as ditches, alleys and over-grazed pastures. The flowers are normally borne in April or early May and appear silverish in color, particularly in the sunlight. The seeds, which mature in May and June, fall easily from their spikelets and attach themselves readily to clothing, fur, etc.

WINTER ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-15 INCHES; INTRODUCED FROM EURASIA; COMMON THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

JAPANESE BROMEGRASS (Bromus japonicus)
Grass Family

Japanese brome or cheat is an extremely common weedy grass in disturbed habitats. particularly around urban areas. It flowers and fruits somewhat later than silky brome and can be distinguished from it by the absence of hairs on the flowers and fruits. The seeds (fruits) are spread easily by their ability to become attached to fur. clothing. etc.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-15 INCHES; INTRODUCED FROM EUROPE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

DAISY FLEABANE (Erigeron strigosus)
Aster Family

Daisy fleabane is a short-lived perennial which occurs in prairies. pastures, alleys, roadsides, etc. It possesses daisy-like flowers (actually a collection of many small flowers) which are white or lavender on the margins and yellow in the center. Its flowers. which are borne above the grasses in late spring, commonly indicate that overgrazing has occurred in the area. Several other closely related and similar species also occur throughout the state.

PERENNIAL; HEIGHT 1-3 FEET; NATIVE; COMMON
THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

WALLFLOWER (Erysimum repondum)
Mustard Family

This annual, pale yellow-flowered species occurs commonly on newly disturbed soils such as new road cuts or embankments. The characteristic fruits are tong and linear often reaching 2 inches or more at maturity. In England several closely related species are grown as garden ornamentals. particularly on walls and embankments.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-18 INCHES; NATIVE; COMMON THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

DANDELION (Taraxacum officinate)
Aster Family

This perennial weed with deeply dissected leaves and bright yellow flowers occurs in lawns, open disturbed areas and generally any place in which the vegetation is low. It will not persist in lawns or other areas if the grasses are allowed to grow high and shade it. The so-called flower is - actually an inflorescence, a collection of many individual smaller Rowers, each of which bears an asexual seed or fruit. The plant bears most flowers in spring but can produce them throughout the year in proteded areas. During the Middle Ages this plant was used medicinally to treat
hemorrhages and gout.

PERENNIAL; HEIGHT 2-10 INCHES; NATURALIZED
FROM EURASIA; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

TANSY MUSTARD (Descurainia pinnata)
Mustard Family

This common annual yellow-flowered species grows in disturbed fields, roadsides, and ditches. The small yellow flowers are produced in large number on the upper 1/2 of the plant. The fruits are long and narrow, often an inch long and 1/16 of an inch wide. The deeply disseded, filiform compound leaves are quite distinctive and make this species easy to recog"ize. This and the silver-haired species (mostly south-western Kansas) often grow in dense patches, particularily in disturbed areas along roadways.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-18 INCHES; NATIVE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

YELLOW SWEET CLOVER (Melilotus officinalis)
Pea Family

Yellow sweet clover is a common weed in disturbed fields as well as on new roadways, banks and ditches. It usually invades an open area the second year after disturbance and may persist for several years thereafter. It is one of the many legumes that possess root nodules which contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Because of this, it is occasionally planted as a hay crop and as a soil enricher in crop rotation. A very closely related species, white sweet clover, often grows with it.

PERENNIAL; HEIGHT 2-6 FEET; NATURALIZED FROM EURASIA; COMMON THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

BLACK MEDIC (Medicago lupulina)
Pea Family

A common weed in new and old lawns, which, once established,  tends to persist. Because it, is a low growing plant seldom reaching over 3 or 4 inches in height. it is well-suited for lawn growth where mowing is frequent. The yellow flower clusters contain many small pea-shaped flowers which at maturity contain a small miniature pod with a single seed. The 3-foliate leaf and small yellow flower clusters of about 1/4 inch in diameter are the distinguishing features of this species. It is
related to our economically important alfalfa.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 2.6 INCHES; NATIVE; COMMON IN EASTERN 3/4 OF THE STATE.


KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds


KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

YELLOW WOODSORREL (Oxalis spp.)
Woodsorrel Family

This species is common in lawns, gardens and disturbed areas around cities. The star-shaped yellow flowers and 3-foliate, cloverlike leaves make it easy to recognize. It often produces biochemical inhibitors and these limit, to a great extent. the growth of many lawn grasses. The fruits. which are pencil-shaped cylinders about 1 inch long. "explode" when ripe and in this way send their seeds away from the parent plant. It begins flowering in April and continues through October.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 3-12 INCHES; NATIVE; PRIMARILY EASTERN 2/3 OF THE STATE.

WILD ONION (Allium mutabile)
Lily Family

This is the commonest and most widely distributed of the ten or so species of onions that are found in the state. It occurs primarily as a weed in our prairies. pastures and roadsides. The white or less often pinkish flowers occur in globe-shaped clusters borne above the narrow grass-like leaves. The fiber-covered
bulbs. which occur shallowly in the soil, have the characteristic onion flavor and were often used by the Indians as food.

PERENNIAL FROM A BULB; HEIGHT 6-15 INCHES; NATIVE; THROUGHOUT BUT MOST COMMON IN THE EASTERN ONE-HALF OF THE STATE.


KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

DEATH CAMAS (Zygadenus nultallii)
Lily Family

Death camas occurs on plains and prairies throughout much of the state. It possesses numerous anion-like leaves which arise from an underground bulb. The white flowers are borne in an open raceme well above the mostly basal leaves. This species is quite toxic and, since it resembles wild onions, care should be taken not to confuse the two.

PERENNIAL FROM A BULB; HEIGHT 6-30 INCHES; NATIVE; EASTERN 2/3 OF THE STATE.

BEDSTRAW (Galium aparine)
Madder Family

Bedstraw is a cammon weedy paint found particularly
in disturbed somewhat shaded areas around buildings. It possesses 4-angled stems with 6 or 8 leaves at each node. The leaves and stems are rough to the touch and will readily cling to clothing. The white flowers are small, bear four petals and eventually form a two-seeded bristly fruit. Of our 9 species of bedstraws, most occur in the wooded portions in the eastern third of the state.

WINTER ANNUAL; 4-15 INCHES HIGH; NATURALIZED FROM EUROPE; THROUGHOUT BUT PRIMARILY EASTERN ONE-HALF OF THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

COMMON SPEEDWELL (Veronica arvensis)
Figwort Family

Common speedwell occurs in field, waste places and poor lawns. It is one of the first winter annuals to bloom in the spring. The
plants (rarely are over 3 inches high) and have opposite, rounded leaves with two or three lobes and small pale blue flowers about 1/4 of an inch in diamter.

WINTER ANNUAL; HEIGHT 1-6 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EUROPE; THROUGHOUT BUT MOSTLY EASTERN ONE-HALF.

CHICKWEED (Stellaria media)
Pink Family

Chick weed is one of the worst weeds in lawns, particularly during the spring of the year. It usually grows in mat-like form and often takes over lawns of poor quality. Many small flowers, with or without white petals, are borne on stems with opposite leaves. Numerous seeds are produced in spring and these usually germinate in the fall. This winter annual has some apparent value in that it is edible and has a spinach-like flavor.

WINTER ANNUAL; HEIGHT 2-16 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EURASIA; THROUGHOUT BUT MORE COMMON IN THE EASTERN 1/2 OF THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

POISON HEMLOCK (Conium maculatum)
Carrot Family

Poison hemlock is a common biennial weed found along river courses, disturbed fields, alleys, etc. The plants produce a basal rosette of leaves the first year and usually flowers in late spring the second year. They bear large fern-like leaves on succulent stems which have small purple streaks in them. The small white flowers are borne in large flat-topped clusters on lop of the large robust plant which may reach 10 feet in height in rich soils. Unfortunately this attractive plant, which is quite common in many cities in the eastern 1/2 of Kansas, is very poisonous. The poison is caused
by an alkaloid, conine, which occurs in all parts of the plant.

BIENNIAL; HEIGHT 2-10 FEET; NATURALIZED FROM EURASIA; EASTERN 2/3 OF THE STATE.

CREEPING CHERVIL (Chaerophyllum procumbens)
Carrot Family

Creeping chervil is a common winter annual in shaded areas along streams, roadsides, and buildings. The plant has carrot-like, finely dissected leaves and small white flowers (early spring) which produce narrow linear fruits about 1/2 inch long and about 1/16 of an inch wide. Several other similar and closely related species occur in the eastern part of the slate.

WINTER ANNUAL; HEIGHT 3-15 INCHES; NATIVE; COMMON IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

SHEPHERDS-PURSE (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Mustard Family

Shepherds-purse is a common winter annual in our area which produces seeds in late spring that normally do not germinate until
fall. At that time basal rosettes along with a taproot are formed and these continue to grow on favorable days throughout the winter
and spring. The white flowers occur from early to late spring and eventually produce a series of many-seeded triangular fruits. It is from this unique fruit, which resembles a shepherds purse, that this species obtains its nome. The flat fruits are about 3/8 of an inch on a side.

WINTER ANNUAL; HEIGHT 4-16 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EUROPE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

CAROLINA GERANIUM (Geranium carolinianum)
Geranium Family

This species is common in waste ground around houses and buildings. The whitish-pink, 5-petaled flowers, which are borne over a long period of time, eventually produce a unique 5-seeded fruit. When ripe the fruit breaks into 5, one-seeded, beaked paris. The palmate leaves are deeply disseded, circular in outline, and turn reddish-orange in summer when the fruits ripen.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-15 INCHES; NATIVE; EASTERN 3/4 OF THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

PLAINS LARKSPUR (Delphinium virescens)
Buttercup Family

Plains larkspur is a common inhabitant of prairies and plains throughout the state. Its whitish flowers are produced on upright spikes during mid spring. The leaves are deeply dissected and in early spring contain large amounts of delphinine, a poisonous alkaloid, which can be toxic to cattle if eaten in large amounts. Plains larkspur is related to our many species of garden larkspurs and delphiniums.

PERENNIAL FROM A THICKENED TUBER; HEIGHT 8-36 INCHES; NATIVE; COMMON THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

PENNYCRESS (Thlaspi arvense)
Mustard Family

Pennycress is a common weed of disturbed soils, particularly along new roadcuts. Its most distinguishing feature is the large flat circular penny-shaped fruits which occur on the plant in late spring . They are about 1/2 inch in diameter. The white flowers bear 4 petals in the shape of a cross, a characteristic of most
members of the mustard family.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-18 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EURASIA; THROUGHOUT BUT MORE COMMON IN THE EASTERN ONE-HALF OF THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

CORN GROMWELL (Lithospermum arvense)
Borage Family

Corn gromwell is a common annual in disturbed areas such as new roadcuts, lawns, gardens and alleys. Many small hairs cover
the plant and give it a rough texture. The plants have alternate entire leaves and small white flowers which eventually mature into 4 small whitish nutlets (seeds).

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 6-18 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EUROPE; PRIMARILY EASTERN 1/2 OF THE STATE.

PEPPER GRASS (Lepidium densiflorum)
Mustard Family

Pepper grass, which is not a grass at all but a member of the mustard family, occurs commonly on poor soils in disturbed areas throughout the state. The small white numerous flowers eventually produce small flat circular fruits about 1/4 inch in diameter. These are quite sharp tasting and have been used
in salad seasoning. Several different closely related species of pepper grass OCCur throughout the state.

ANNUAL; HEIGHT 4-15 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EUROPE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

COMMON VIOLET (Viola papillionacea)
Violet Family

This perennial violet occurs in many habitats -- open waads, fields, ditches, yards, gardens, etc. Its leaves are all basal, heart-shaped and without obvious hairs. The flowers, which are borne singly on an upright stem, are blue, lavender, or white and usually possess a white or yellow center. Many other species of violets occur in the stale but none are as common as this species.

PERENNIAL FROM CREEPING ROOTSTOCK; HEIGHT 2-12 INCHES; NATIVE; THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

GROUND-PLUM (Astragalus caryocarpus)
Pea Family

Ground-plum is a common inhabitant of prairies and plains throughout the state. Unlike its relative, the locoweed, it is apparently harmless as a forage. The bluish-purple flowers of this species are borne in small clusters about an inch or two in diameter during mid-spring. They ripen later into plum-like fruits which are reportedly edible. The leaves are pinnately compound and borne close to the ground on trailing stems.

PERENNIAL FROM A THICKENED TUBER; HEIGHT 4-15 INCHES; NATIVE; COMMON THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds

HENBIT (Lamium amplexicaule)
Mint Family

Henbit is one of the most common winter annual weeds in lawns, gardens and roadsides. It begins its growth quickly in September and produces purplish flowers throughout much of the winter and spring. The leaves are opposite and on the upper part of the stem fused 10 one another. In early spring, roadsides often appear purple due to the lorge populations of henbit in flower at one time.

WINTER ANNUAL; HEIGHT 3-12 INCHES; NATURALIZED FROM EUROPE; COMMON IN TH E EASTERN 2/3 OF THE STATE.

LOCOWEED (Oxytropis lambertii)
Pea Family

This perennial locoweed occurs in fields and pastures throughout the western paris of the state. The flowers, which are borne in spike(like clusters, are an aHractive blue-purple. The leaves are pinnate and all borne at the base of the plant from a strong toproot. Livet stock normally do not graze this loco-or crozy weed because it is generally unpalitable. But under poor range conditions when grasses are scarce they may use it and thereafter prefer it to regular forage. The effects of it are dizzinezss, loss of muscle control, and in some cases death.

PERENNIAL FROM A TAPROOT; HEIGHT 6-15 INCHES; NATIVE; WESTERN 3/4 OF THE STATE.

KSN - Vol 15, No 4 - Common Spring Weeds


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