Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Kochia: Kochia scoparia

kochia9-20b.jpg (68775 bytes) Weed Description:  An erect, much-branched summer annual weed of agronomic crops, pastures, and roadsides.  Kochia does not occur in Virginia, but is continually spreading South from the northern United States where it is a common weed.  Kochia is also present in the western and southwestern United States.
Seedlings: Cotyledons are very narrow, essentially linear in outline, dull green in color, and covered with hairs.   The first true leaves are also very narrow and linear to elliptic in outline.   Young leaves are also covered with hairs and especially have hairs along the leaf margins.

Stems:  Erect, ranging from 1 to 4 feet in height.  Stems are much branched and often have a reddish tint.

kochia9-20.jpg (119794 bytes)
kochia3-14b.jpg (171295 bytes) Leaves:  Occur alternately along the stem.  Leaves are linear to lanceolate in outline, ranging from 1 to2 inches in length, and taper to a point.  Leaves do not occur on petioles (sessile) and usually only have hairs along the leaf margins.

Flowers:   Occur in clusters at the ends of stems (terminal panicles) and also in the position between the leaf bases and stems (leaf axils).  Flowers are relatively inconspicuous, green in color, and approximately 5 to 10 mm long.  Flowers have distinctive hairy bracts beneath which tends to give the flowering stems a 'prickly' appearance.

Roots:  A taproot and fibrous root system.

Fruit:   A small bladder known as an utricle.

Identifying Characteristics:  The highly branched nature of kochia and the hairs that occur along the leaf margins are characteristics that help to distinguish this weed from most other species.  Young kochia seedlings may be confused with Common Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) seedlings but the cotyledons of this weed are hairless.

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