Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Wild Radish: Raphanus raphanistrum

Weed Description:   Usually a winter annual but occasionally a summer annual or even biennial weed of small grains, forages, nurseries, and horticultural crops.  Wild radish is found throughout the United States.

Seedlings:   Cotyledons or heart-shaped and occur on petioles.  The first true leaves are hairy, lobed, and have toothed margins.

Leaves:  Leaves initially develop as a basal rosette of highly lobed leaves.  Basal leaves are elliptic in outline, approximately 8 inches long by 2 inches wide, and occur on petioles.  Stem leaves are alternate, lanceolate in outline, without petioles, and with toothed margins.   All leaves are covered with stiff hairs.
Flowers:  Flowers occur in racemes at the ends of stems.  Individual flowers are approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter and consist of 4 light yellow petals.  Flowers occur on flower stalks (pedicels) that range from 5 to 20 mm in length.
Roots: A taproot somewhat like that of a radish with a distinctive radish odor and taste

Stems:  Stems are erect, branching, ranging from 12 to 32 inches in height.  Stems are covered with hairs.

wradish4-3B.jpg (30827 bytes)
wradish4-3F.jpg (97393 bytes) Fruit: A segmented pod (silique) that is long (3/4 to 1 1/2 inch) and narrow with a distinctive 'beak' tip.  At maturity, the fruit typically break into fragments rather than opening straight down the middle as in wild mustard.
Identifying Characteristics:   Plants that are usually winter annuals with highly lobed leaves in a basal rosette and on the erect flowering stem.  Wild Mustard (Brassica kaber) and Yellow Rocket (Barbarea vulgaris) are similar in both appearance and growth habit, however neither of these weeds are covered with stiff hairs as is wild radish.  The leaves of wild radish are also more divided than either wild mustard or yellow rocket.  The fruit of mild mustard also open straight down the middle to expose the seed while those of wild radish usually break into fragments. wradish4-3G.jpg (47990 bytes)