Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Eclipta: Eclipta prostrata

eclipta3-19b.jpg (105412 bytes) Weed Description:  A prostrate or erect summer annual to 2 feet in height found in the southern, lower midwest, and east coast states.

Roots:   Shallow taproot with fibrous root system.

Seedling:  Stems below the cotyledons (hypocotyls) are light green to light purple.  Cotyledons are without hairs, slightly thickened, spatulate, with a midvein evident on the lower surface.

Fruit:  A brown achene, 1.8-2.5 mm long, widest at the apex and tapering to the base.

eclipta6-7b.jpg (114584 bytes)

Mature Plant:   Leaves are opposite, elliptic to lanceolate either without petioles or with a short petiole, slightly thickened, approximately 1 1/4 to 5 inches long and up to 1 1/4 inches wide, with short, appressed hairs on both surfaces.  Leaf margins have widely spaced teeth.  Stems initially green, becoming reddish brown, freely branched, and capable of rooting at the nodes.
Flowers:  Occur alone or in clusters of 2-3 on small stalks at the end of stems or in leaf axils.   Flowers are rounded and consist of small, white ray flowers surrounding greennish disk flowers. eclipta8-15.jpg (156218 bytes)
Identifying Characteristics:   Opposite, elliptic to lanceolate leaves with widely-spaced teeth. 
Eclipta is sometimes confused with Tropic Croton (Croton glandulosus), however the leaves of eclipta are much more linear in outline and are arranged oppositely along the stem unlike the alternate leaves of tropic croton.  Young eclipta seedlings may also be confused with Hairy Galinsoga (Galinsoga ciliata) seedlings, but the two can easily be distinguished by the lack of hairs on eclipta and the presence of hairs on hairy galinsoga.