Skip to main content

NC State Extension

Weed ID

en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

The first step in any pest management program is to identify the pest. Weed management decisions are predicated on an understanding of the weed, its life cycle and mode(s) of reproduction and spread. Below are several weed identification guides recommended for North Carolina.

Weed Identification Guides recommended for NC

Weeds of Southern Turfgrass — contains descriptions and photos of most common weeds of turfgrass and landscape plantings in the region. As the title implies, many weeds of other cropping systems will are in this manual. This manual is available from several sources including University of Georgia, Clemson University, University of Florida and Auburn University.

Weeds of the South — a full color book published by the Southern Weed Science Society.

Weeds of the Northeast – a full color guide to weed identification with emphasis on weeds common to the Northeastern US, upper mid-western states and southeastern Canada, but contains many weeds common to western NC. This manual contains images and descriptions of multiple growth stages, contrasting information about similar and related species, and a key to weed identification.

Weeds of Container Nurseries in the United States by Drs. Joe Neal and Jeff Derr,  is published by the NC Nursery and Landscape Association and includes information about the identification, biology and control of each species. The publication is currently out of print but a pdf version is available. Additionally,  an on-line multi-character key for the identification of common weeds of container nurseries is available at NCSU.

On-Line Weed Identification

Several on-line resources contain compilations of weed photos. Those sites can be quite useful if you already know the name of the weed (or suspect you know the name).

The NCSU Plants Toolbox has a multi-character key for plant identification. It includes many common weed species.

The Virginia Tech Weed Identification on-line key is one resource that can help you identify an unknown weed. This is a multi-character key that allows you to select traits or characteristics of your specimen then narrows the list of possible species. Every such key has its own particular “quirks” so its best to practice with a few weeds you know before trying to identify an unknown species.

Mobile apps. There are several mobile apps that are very useful in plant identification. These image-based identification tools have improved dramatically in the past few years. I have used iNaturalist and found it to be fairly accurate in getting you to the correct genus most of the time. Be sure to confirm the suggested identification. There are several other subscription-based apps available. We will be evaluating those apps.

Still need help identifying the weed?

If you are in North Carolina, take your specimen to your local Cooperative Extension office. You may also send digital images, but we need clear, in focus photos of the weed, Be sure to include multiple photos of the plant, leaves, stems and flowers. Check to be sure they are in good focus. Sometimes we need a physical sample for identification. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance on where to send those samples.