5 Common Weeds in Arkansas with Pictures to Identify

Besides lakes, hot springs, and rivers, Arkansas is known for its extreme weather and frequent storms. This southern U.S. state lies in the Transition Zone. And it’s harder to grow and maintain lawn grasses or plants in the transition zone compared to other parts of the United States. This is because winter months are typically too cold to prevent warm-season plants from germinating. On the other hand, summer is hot enough to kill or injure cool-season plants.

Unfortunately, you can’t stop weeds from cropping up in the lawns or fields. They can sneak into a yard anytime via wind or animals. But why allow these invaders to destroy the property you have invested time and energy in the past few months?

So every gardener should know and learn about the noxious weeds of Arkansas. While there are different types of weeds, keeping pace with the types destroying your field now and how to prevent them is difficult. By knowing the weeds, you can better manage your fields.

This article lists the common types of weeds that are the nemesis of Arkansas gardeners. Let’s find out!

The Commonly Found Weeds of Arkansas

When most parts of Arkansas are in a drought, it’s more important to control weeds to stop foraging for nutrients and water. However, the associate professor of the Arkansas System Division of Agriculture says that you can control weeds in winter unless it’s freezing. Then, spray suitable herbicides to clean up the cool season and warm, perennial pastures, making way for a new germinating season. 

Find out the most common weeds of Arkansas below –

1. Dodder

Scientific Name:Cuscuta campestris
Weed Type:Annual weed
Common Names:Golden dodder, Yellow dodder, Prairie dodder, Large-seeded alfalfa dodder.

Dodder is one of those parasitic weeds that cause various plant diseases. This annual parasitic weed germinates by penetrating tissues of host plants to steal nutrients and water. In addition, this weed attaches itself to healthy crops or plants, making them more susceptible to insect pests and other diseases.

Dodder is problematic in agricultural fields, infesting many crops, including tomatoes, alfalfa, clovers, and native plants. The host plant range is big but rarely affects monocots except for asparagus and onions.

Fascinatingly, native dodder seeds don’t have dispersal mechanisms. They usually spread through people with mud or soil attached to tires and shoes, or equipment. Moreover, these seeds may also remain a contaminant in crop seeds or be carried to infested plant parts. Water can also help in seed dispersal, especially for dodder species near aquatic environments.

Dodder seedlings don’t have seed leaves (cotyledons). Instead, a small temporary root develops to support a nearly 1-1/2 to 4 inches yellow, red or orange thread-like shoot. Seedlings will take ten days to several weeks to bind to a suitable host, based on the species. 

This parasitic vine twines around the host plants via its hairless, thread-like, red, orange, or yellow shoots, forming a tangled mat. The shoot has knoblike organs that perforate the host stem. Moreover, their shoots either possess tiny orange, yellow or red scale-like leaves or have no leaves at all. 

The soil attachments dry up and die after the vine weed binds to the host. As a result, flowers appear between May and October with bell-shaped, long petals measuring less than ¼ inches. Moreover, these petals appear in inconspicuous clusters. On the other hand, dodders develop egg-shaped, conical capsules or spherical fruits, usually less than 1/5 inches in length. 

Each dodder plant gives rise to thousands of seeds that can stay asleep in the soil for many years. Each capsule consists of one to four spherical, tiny, hard, egg-shaped, angular or oblong seeds. Finally, reproduction takes place from stems and seeds. 

The best defense against dodders includes a systematic approach that is a combination of different methods. It’s impossible to eradicate this weed in a year or with a single treatment. Take rapid action to decrease or eradicate dodders as soon as you see them invading your garden plants and herbaceous landscape.

2. Blueweed

Scientific Name:Echium vulgare
Type:Biennial or short-lived perennial
Common Names:Chicory, Cichorium intybus, Lady Campbell, Paterson’s Curse, Plantain-leaf viper’s bugloss, Purple bugloss, Blue thistle, and the Blue devil.

Blueweed is classified as a Class B noxious weed, commonly invading disturbed lands and agricultural landscapes. While it’s toxic to cattle and horses, the weed dwindles the forage quality in pastures and rangelands, causing economic losses. This poisonous weed can also pop up in sunny places with well-drained soils.

Blueweed plants have linear to oblong or lanceolate and alternate leaves with long white hairs and white speckles. However, you will find stalked leaves growing up to 8 inches long that become gradually smaller at the stem tip.

Nearly tubular flowers with top petals overhang the bottom and are united by bracts with several folds and lobes. On the contrary, blueweed also blooms blue to purple funnel-shaped five-petaled flowers with stiff hairs.

Flowers appear between late spring and early fall, flaunting an arrangement like a fiddleneck. However, each flower bears four one-seeded nutlets. The seeds are grayish-brown, angular, and wrinkled.

You can control small infestations by hand-pulling if you remove the root completely. However, Integrated Weed Management (IWM) will be the ultimate solution to eliminate large weed infestations completely. IWM includes a combination of mechanical, cultural, and biological controls and all preventive measures.

Also Read: Weeds in Idaho: Identify the Common Weeds with Pictures

3. Morning Glory

Scientific Name:Ipomoea purpurea
Type:Summer annual broad-leaf
Common Names:Tall morning glory, Common morning glory, and Purple morning glory.

Morning glory flaunts abundant flowers that welcome the sun every morning. For most of you, the name ‘morning glory’ reflects wonderful, delightful flowers. But for gardeners, the name evokes nightmares of twisting vines that choke up your garden flowers. So this noxious, deep-rooted weed is the nemesis of all gardeners.

This deep-rooted plant grows robustly, producing numerous flowers and reaching over 10 feet. Morning glory happily reseeds and returns every year. However, their somewhat toxic seeds are known to cause mild hallucinations and diarrhea.

Morning glory loves to germinate in moist, rich soil but can tolerate different environmental conditions.

This annual climbing weed flowers between July and September. Morning glory dies off during the first frost, but its fruits and vines will persevere throughout the winter. And seed germination starts with the inception of early summer.

Leaves are heart-shaped, flaunting alternate arrangements on long petioles, usually 3.5 inches wide and 4 inches long. Moreover, you will see hairs lying against the leaf surface. The vine stems are hairy and can extend up to 6.5 feet.

A key identifying feature includes the heart-shaped leaves that typically overlie one another. You can even identify this weed by its multi-hued white/purple flowers. The light blue, purple to white flowers can expand between 1.5 and 3 inches in length.

However, the leaf petioles are generally larger than the stalks, and you will see 1 to 3 flowers arising at the leaf axils.

Seeds are hairy, wedge-shaped, and blackish, forming in brown capsules. Morning glory reproduces vegetatively through seeds and rooting stems that grow along the soil. Animals, water, and dumped garden waste help in spreading the stem fragments.

Your best bet to control or prevent this weed’s growth is proper lawn maintenance. The first approach would be to apply proper herbicides during the early spring and late winter. Moreover, healthy crops such as turf or dense grasses can also prevent weeds from developing.

4. Cocklebur

Scientific Name:Xanthium strumarium
Type:Annual broad-leaf
Common Names: Rough cocklebur, Common cocklebur, Clotbur, Broad-leaved cocklebur, Sheep-bur, Ditch-bur, Noogoora bur, Heartleaf cocklebur, and Button-bur.

This is another coarse annual summer broad-leaf plant inhabiting moist, open, disturbed places in agricultural landscapes. Common cocklebur grows rapidly and emerges in higher numbers backed by the big seed. The weed is more competitive in no-tillage conditions than in tillage. Thus, no-tillage crop production will be less susceptible to this competitive weed.

The seedlings can sprout from deep in the soil, so rotary hoeing and tine weeding will have no significant effect. Moreover, while the seeds don’t survive well in the soil, you can carry out the rotation to a sod crop for many years to control this weed.

Cotyledons are oblong to linear, smooth, waxy, thick, and fleshy, nearly ¾ to 1-3/4 inches long. The stem beneath the cotyledons is often green on the upper side and purple at the base. Moreover, while the first true leaves appear opposite, all subsequent leaves manifest alternate arrangements.

You will see ovate to triangular leaves with stiff hairs, nearly 2 to 6 inches in length. They are irregularly lobed and have leaf margins with relatively unnoticeable teeth. Moreover, the leaves appear on long petioles and flaunt three clear veins on the upper leaf surface.

On the other hand, flowers emerge between July and October. You will see rusty red to small green flower heads appearing in clusters at the meeting point of the stem and the upper leaf stalk. Male flower heads appear above female flowers with short stalks in oval-shaped burs.

Cocklebur has football-shaped prickly fruits about 3/5 to 1-2/5 inches long. Moreover, the burs have beaklike hooks at the tip, and their color ranges from yellowish to green. Each bur bears two seeds – one germinates in the first year, and the other grows the following year. Twi prickles are wider and longer than the other prickles, protruding from the bur’s tip.

Seeds often exhibit dark membranes. However, the young seedlings are toxic to pigs and cattle. The most efficient control methods include chemical controls or hand pulling. Seeds help in reproduction that is typically dispersed in water. They can stay asleep in the soil for three years before they get the perfect conditions to sprout.

So digging out each small seedling as they emerge is a good option. However, chemical treatment can take less time, but it’s better to use herbicide as a last resort.

Also Read: Weeds in Nebraska: A Complete Identification Guide

5. Moonflower

Scientific Name:Ipomoea alba
Type:Short-lived annual or long-lived perennial
Common Names:Devil’s trumpet, Jimsonweed, Thorn apple, Locoweed, Devil’s weed, Evening glory, Giant moonflower, Moonflower vine, Tropical white morning glory, White morning glory.

Moonflower is a long-lived or short-lived vine that can ascend over trees and shrubs and spread over the ground, creating a dense mat. They are listed as the ‘exotic scramblers and vines’ whose vegetation intrusion is considered a ‘key threatening process.

Moonflowers are medium-sized bushes that can develop up to more than three feet in height. Undoubtedly, it’s a weedy plant, but the moonflower appears pleasing to the eyes.

Interestingly, this plant blooms late in the evening and remains open throughout the night. After that, it wilts as the sun rises. Based on this characteristic, it got the name ‘moonflower’. The blooming time is between April and October.

Moonflowers have hairless stems, and the aerial climbing ones exhibit several small projections. Leaves are relatively large, about 5 to 20cm long and 4 to 20cm wide, showing alternate arrangements on the stems. However, they appear on stalks and are often a bit fleshy or thick in nature.

The leaves are generally heart-shaped and have pointed tips. Another identifying feature is their large trumpet-shaped flowers. In addition, they feature narrow greenish-white and very long floral tubes. Moreover, with five big white spreading lobes, flowers appear in numerous-flowered clusters and, often singly, in the leaf forks.

Flowers bloom in summer and autumn. They open during the night and wilt by the next morning. However, flowers flaunt five small sepals with pointed tips and appear on stalks. You will find each flower bearing five whitish stamens and one style.

The small capsuled fruit has a pointed tip. The flower stalk gets enlarged when the fruit matures, and the mature fruit becomes blackish or dark brown from green. Then, the mature fruit splits open to give off hairless, white-colored, and large seeds, nearly 10mm long.

Moonflower reproduces through vegetative propagation by rooting stems growing along the ground or by seed. Moreover, they are commonly dispersed by water movement.


So these are some of the most common weeds invading Arkansas lawns and garden landscapes. It’s always recommended to maintain a healthy lawn. Maintaining a thick, healthy lawn is the best defense against all these weeds. The key things include appropriate irrigation, weed control, and proper fertilization. 

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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