Yellow Flowers–are they Weeds? How to Identify and Get Rid of them.

Are you an amateur gardener or a homeowner with a nice lawn and garden you want to maintain? Did you see a plant with yellow or yellowish flowers in your garden or lawn and are trying to determine if it’s a weed or not based on pictures? Want to know how to kill them and get rid of them once and for all?

The small yellow flowers in your grass are most probably Dandelions, a ubiquitous weed that you recognize from their fluffy, seed-bearing structures that appear after the flowers fade.

Weeds with yellow and white flowers are a paradox of nature – beautiful yet intrusive. 

Their vibrant blossoms bring a splash of color to an otherwise monochrome landscape and they do offer benefits like serving pollinators or improving soil fertility.

However, their aggressive and resilient growth threatens the health of your garden or lawn, as they often choke out desired plants. Therefore, we strongly suggest killing them and preventing their unrestrained growth as a homeowner or gardener.

In this article, we’ll show you the proactive homeowner, pictures and guide you through the world of yellow and yellowish flower weeds, focusing on the 10 most common types that you might encounter in your outdoor spaces. We will help you to identify them via images, understand their characteristics, and effectively get rid of them or at least control their growth. The following 10 weeds will be our prime focus:

  1. Dandelion
  2. Yellow Hawkweed
  3. Bird’s Foot Trefoil
  4. Common Evening Primrose
  5. Wintercress
  6. Creeping Cinquefoil
  7. Common Ragwort
  8. Creeping Buttercup
  9. Golden Clover
  10. Wild Parsnip

1. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

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The Dandelion, scientifically named Taraxacum officinale, is a member of the belongs to the Asteraceae family. Originating from Europe and Asia, it has now conquered almost every corner of the world and can be found in temperate regions globally. These yellow flowering plants adapt to various environments but favor sunny, open spaces with plentiful moisture and fertile soil, such as lawns, gardens, forests, and meadows. Homeowners have this, but children love it!

How to Identify Dandelions as a homeowner?

Dandelions are distinctive, displaying bright yellow flower heads composed of numerous small florets. These connect to a hollow stem or scape, rising directly from the ground up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. 

Dandelion leaves are deeply lobed and somewhat resemble the jagged teeth of a lion, forming a rosette at the base of the plant – hence the name, derived from ‘dent-de-lion’ in French. After flowering, the flower head morphs into a spherical seed head, filled with wind-ready seeds, which makes them a memorable sight and easy for a homeowner to see

How to Get Rid of Dandelions as a homeowner?

Dandelions pose a unique challenge to homeowners due to their prolific nature. Their seeds are designed for widespread dispersal, and a single plant can produce up to 15,000 seeds per year. The best way to get rid of Dandelions is the manual removal of their deep taproot system, which can extend up to 10 inches (25 cm) into the ground. A specialized dandelion removal tool effectively extracts the whole taproot, preventing regrowth. Additionally, selective herbicides target Dandelions without harming other plants. Maintaining a dense, healthy lawn reduces the available space for Dandelions to establish, serving as a natural suppression method.

2. Yellow Hawkweed (Hieracium pratense)

Yellow Hawkweed
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The Yellow Hawkweed, scientifically known as Hieracium pratense, is part of the Asteraceae family. Originally from Central and Eastern Europe, this weed has spread throughout North America, Asia, and New Zealand. Favoring sunny environments with well-drained soil, Yellow Hawkweed can be found by gardeners in a variety of settings, from fields and meadows to roadsides and forest edges.

How to Identify Yellow Hawkweed as a gardener?

Yellow Hawkweed is recognizable as a gardener by its cluster of small, bright yellow flowers that sit atop a leafless, hairy stem growing up to 36 inches (91 cm) tall. Resembling its namesake, the hawk, the leaves are long, pointed, and often have a hairy underside.

The plant’s structure forms a rosette at the base, with the leaves extending directly from it. After blooming, the flowers transition into fluffy white seed heads similar to Dandelions, enabling wind dispersal.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Hawkweed as a gardener?

Controlling Yellow Hawkweed is crucial due to its aggressive, invasive nature. With its ability to reproduce via both seeds and horizontal creeping rhizomes, a single Yellow Hawkweed plant can form a large colony, crowding out native species and desired plants in gardens and lawns.

The most effective method for getting rid of and eliminating Yellow Hawkweed is early detection and removal of the entire plant, including its extensive root system. Digging it out by hand or using a weed puller tool can be effective for small infestations. For larger colonies, selective herbicides designed for broadleaf plants can help control its spread.

3. Bird’s Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Bird's Foot Trefoil
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Bird’s Foot Trefoil, or Lotus corniculatus, belongs to the Fabaceae family. It’s native to Eurasia but has spread widely across North America, Australia, and New Zealand. It favors various habitats, including grasslands, roadsides, open woods, and disturbed lands. Additionally, Bird’s Foot Trefoil thrives in sunny, well-drained areas, showing a particular affinity for lime-rich soils.

How to Identify Bird’s Foot Trefoil as a landscaper?

The distinguishing feature of Bird’s Foot Trefoil is its distinct yellow flowers arranged in clusters of 4 to 8, giving the plant a clover-like appearance. The flower clusters sit atop a smooth, slender stem, reaching a height of 24 inches (60 cm). This can be a big deal as a landscaper who’s not looking for these flowers..

Named for its peculiar seed pods, which resemble a bird’s foot or claw, the plant’s leaf structure is unique, too. It possesses five leaflets with three visibly clustered at the tip and two at the base, appearing as if part of the stem. After flowering, seed pods emerge, developing into a ‘bird’s foot’ formation.

How to Get Rid of Bird’s Foot Trefoil as a landscaper?

The control of Bird’s Foot Trefoil is essential due to its aggressive spreading nature. It reproduces through both seeds and creeping stems, rapidly forming dense mats that displace other vegetation, including common lawn grasses. Landscapers would love to kill this plant as quickly as possibly.

Comprehensive control of Bird’s Foot Trefoil involves complete removal of the plant, ensuring no creeping stems are left in the soil. For small invasions, manual removal can be effective. However, for larger infestations, selective herbicides tailored to broadleaf plants are recommended. Moreover, it’s important to encourage vigorous growth of native plants or grasses to deter Bird’s Foot Trefoil colonization, much like our strategy with Yellow Hawkweed and Dandelions.

4. Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

Common Evening Primrose
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The Common Evening Primrose, scientifically known as Oenothera biennis, is part of the Onagraceae family. This plant is native to North America and has since become established in Europe, Asia, and Australia. It typically thrives in sunny, well-drained habitats such as dunes, roadsides, riverbanks, and waste grounds.

How to Identify Common Evening Primrose as a beginner?

The Common Evening Primrose is an easy one to spot for beginners as it’s known for its large, bright colored flowers, each with four broad petals. These distinctive flowers are found at the top of the plant’s erect, hairy stems, which can reach a towering height of up to 5 feet (1.5 meters).

The plant’s lance-shaped leaves are arranged in a rosette at the base in the first year, ascending the stem in the second. Unique to this species is its blooming behavior: the flowers open at dusk and close by the next noon, giving it the “evening” moniker. After flowering, capsule-like fruits appear, filled with numerous tiny seeds.

How to Kill/Control Common Evening Primrose as a beginner?

Despite the plant’s charm and its value as a medicinal plant, the Common Evening Primrose can become invasive in gardens and lawns, displacing desired vegetation.

For effective control, the entire plant should be uprooted before it has a chance to seed. Hand-pulling or using a weed removal tool can be effective for small infestations, whereas selective broadleaf herbicides like 2,4-D, MCPP, or Dicamba may be necessary for larger populationsto kill them.

5. Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris)

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Wintercress, or Barbarea vulgaris, is part of the Brassicaceae family. It’s indigenous to Eurasia and North Africa, and it has also naturalized in North America and Australia. Wintercress is adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including disturbed lands, fields, roadsides, and gardens, preferably in sunny, well-drained areas.

How to Identify Wintercress in North America?

Wintercress stands out with its clusters of small, bright yellow and light orange colored flowers arranged at the top of the erect, branched stems. The plant can reach up to 2 feet (60 cm) in height in North America

The leaves of Wintercress are dark green and glossy, with lower leaves forming a rosette, while the upper ones are alternately arranged along the stem. Following the flowering period, long, slender seed pods known as siliques develop.

How to Control Wintercress in North America?

Wintercress is a vigorous colonizer, capable of forming large stands and crowding out other vegetation.

Early detection and removal of the entire plant, including the taproot, can prevent the spread of Wintercress in North America. Hand-pulling is an effective method, especially when the soil is moist. For larger infestations, herbicides with active ingredients such as 2,4-D or Glyphosate may be utilized to kill it. Encouraging a dense growth of other plants also assists in preventing Wintercress establishment, similar to strategies used with previous weeds.

6. Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans)

Creeping Cinquefoil
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Creeping Cinquefoil, scientifically known as Potentilla reptans, belongs to the Rosaceae family. This plant is native to Europe and Asia and has since spread to North America. It prefers sunny to partially shaded areas with well-drained soils, and it can be commonly found in fields, pastures, gardens, and along roadsides.

How to Identify Creeping Cinquefoil during spring?

Creeping Cinquefoil can be identified by its yellow, five-petalled flowers which bloom at the end of the plant’s long, trailing stems. These stems can reach a length of up to 6 feet (180 cm), allowing the plant to spread widely during spring.

The leaves are palmately compound with five leaflets, which is somewhat unique among weeds. After the flowering period, small, dry fruits carrying the seeds develop.

How to Kill Creeping Cinquefoil during spring?

Creeping Cinquefoil can pose a problem due to its creeping growth habit, as it can rapidly cover a large area, outcompeting desired plants.

The eliminaton of Creeping Cinquefoil starts with disrupting its growth by regularly mowing or cutting back the long stems. For established patches, digging or pulling the entire plant, including all root fragments, is necessary. When dealing with large infestations, herbicides containing Fluroxypyr or Clopyralid can effectively and thoroughly kill this weed.

7. Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)

Common Ragwort
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Common Ragwort, scientifically known as Senecio jacobaea, is a member of the Asteraceae family. Native to Eurasia, this plant has since become established in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be found in various habitats, including meadows, pastures, roadsides, and waste grounds, primarily in sunny areas with well-drained soils.

How to Identify Common Ragwort in tall grass?

Identifying Common Ragwort is straightforward thanks to its bright yellow, daisy-like flowers grouped into dense, flat-topped clusters. This biennial plant can grow between 1.5 to 3 feet (45 to 90 cm) in height and higher than most tall grasses in fields.

The leaves of Common Ragwort are dark green, deeply lobed, and arranged alternately along the erect stem. After flowering, the plant produces fluffy, dandelion-like seed heads that disperse in the wind.

How to Get Rid of Common Ragwort in tall grass?

Common Ragwort can become a nuisance due to its fast spreading nature, especially in pastures as it poses a serious threat to livestock when consumed.

The best way to get rid of Ragwort in tall grass is to pull or digg up the entire plant, including the root, before it has a chance to seed. This action should ideally be performed with protective gloves as the plant can cause skin irritation. For larger infestations, 2,4-D or MCPA can be effective.

8. Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)

Creeping Buttercup
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Creeping Buttercup, known scientifically as Ranunculus repens, is part of the Ranunculaceae family. This plant is native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa, and has since become naturalized in North America and other regions. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, gardens, and woodland clearings, with a preference for wet, poorly drained areas. Easy for novice gardeners to notice it and remove.

How to Identify Creeping Buttercup as a novice gardener?

Creeping Buttercup is recognized by its shiny, yellow, five-petalled flowers. It gets its “creeping” name from its growth habit; the plant stems can spread up to 3 feet (90 cm) in length across the ground.

The leaves of Creeping Buttercup are divided into three lobed leaflets and are somewhat glossy. After the flowering period, the plant produces small, bumpy fruits that contain multiple seeds.

How to Control Creeping Buttercup as a novice gardener?

Creeping Buttercup can become problematic in gardens and lawns due to its aggressive growth and preference for wet areas.

Control of this weed involves regularly mowing or cutting back the plant to prevent it from flowering and seeding. For established infestations, the entire plant, including all root fragments, should be removed.

9. Golden Clover (Trifolium aureum)

Golden Clover
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Golden Clover, known scientifically as Trifolium aureum, is part of the Fabaceae family. This perennial plant is native to Europe, but it has been introduced to other regions, including North America. It thrives in various environments, including meadows, pastures, and roadsides, mainly in sunny, well-drained locations.

How to Identify Golden Clover?

Golden Clover is easily identifiable due to its golden yellow, pea-like flowers that form dense, oval clusters. The plant typically reaches a height of 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm).

The leaves of Golden Clover are trifoliate, meaning they consist of three leaflets. After flowering, the plant produces small, bean-like pods that hold the seeds.

How to Control Golden Clover?

While Golden Clover is often appreciated and grown for its aesthetic appeal and its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, it can become invasive in some environments.

An ideal strategy to control Golden Clover is hand-pulling combined with mowing the plant before it sets seed. As with all the other yellow flowery weeds we have discussed earlier, herbecides and a proper lawn maintenance are also good alternatives.

10.Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Wild Parsnip
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Wild Parsnip, scientifically named Pastinaca sativa, is a member of the Apiaceae family. Originally from Europe and Asia, it’s now found across North America and other parts of the world. It grows in a variety of habitats including fields, pastures, roadsides, and disturbed areas, generally in full sunlight.

How to Identify Wild Parsnip?

Wild Parsnip can be identified by its umbels of tiny, yellowish flowers. This tall plant can grow up to 5 feet (150 cm) in height.

The leaves of Wild Parsnip are pinnately compound, and each leaf has several pairs of leaflets. Following the flowering stage, the plant produces broad, flat, brown fruits that contain the seeds.

How to Kill Wild Parsnip?

Wild Parsnip is problematic due to its invasiveness and the potential health hazard it poses; the plant’s sap can cause severe skin burns when exposed to sunlight.

For killing Wild Parnsip, wearing protective clothing and removing the plant before it goes to seed is critical. Due to the risk of skin burns, be careful if you want to remove it manually. 2,4-D or Triclopyr are the suggested herbecides if you can’t avoid using chemicals.

Why kill yellow flower weeds in your yard/garden?

These yellowy weeds, often referred to as dandelions and other similar species, can pose a challenge for homeowners striving for a pristine and well-maintained garden or yard. While these weeds might appear harmless and even aesthetically pleasing to some, they are aggressive competitors for essential resources like water, nutrients, and sunlight. We love to kill them and hope they don’t come back!

Their rapid growth and prolific seed production can quickly lead to an infestation, overshadowing and choking out desired plants and grasses. Moreover, their deep and tenacious root systems make them difficult to eradicate once established, often requiring repeated efforts.

For homeowners, allowing these weeds to flourish can lead to a decline in the health and appearance of their garden or yard, potentially reducing the overall value and appeal of their property. Thus, proactively addressing and killing these weeds is crucial to maintaining a vibrant and healthy outdoor space.

Which yellowish flower weeds are edible?

Among the 10 weeds listed, some can be used in culinary or medicinal applications:

  • Dandelion: All parts of the dandelion plant are edible. You can use the leaves in salads, the roots can be roasted to make a type of coffee substitute, and the flowers can be used to make wine.
  • Common Evening Primrose: The roots are edible and were traditionally used by Native Americans for food. The leaves, flowers, and seeds are also known to have various medicinal uses.
  • Golden Clover: It’s often used as a forage crop for livestock but is not typically eaten by humans.

Note: While these plants may have edible parts, it’s important to properly identify them and understand the potential effects before consuming it. Even if a plant is considered generally safe, individual reactions can vary from person to person.

Which are toxic for humans or pets?

Among the 10 flowering weeds we have listed, these are the toxic or harmful ones:

  • Common Ragwort: This plant contains alkaloids that can be toxic to livestock and other animals if ingested.
  • Wild Parsnip: The sap from wild parsnip can cause phytophotodermatitis in humans, a skin reaction that occurs when the sap on the skin is exposed to sunlight. This can lead to blisters, rashes, and skin discoloration.
  • Creeping Buttercup: All parts of the plant are toxic when ingested by humans and pets, causing irritation to the mouth, throat, and stomach.
  • Dandelion: Although not toxic, some people may have an allergic reaction to the plant or its pollen


Yellow-flowered weeds in abundance can be annoying and difficult to kill and remove remove. They are hazardous to animals and humans and can result in blistering, blisters, and skin rashes if touched.

In this article, we have covered all kinds of weeds with a yellow flower that you can commonly find in your yard as a homeowner or gardener. Going through this article, you will get to know which weed plant to keep and which to remove, and ways to get rid of the invasive weed plant.

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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