Field Madder: Sherardia arvensis
|Weed Description: A prostrate winter
annual with whorled leaves, square stems, and pink to purple flowers. Field madder
is primarily a weed of turfgrass, lawns, and occasionally winter small grains. This
weed is distributed throughout the southern United States.
Leaves: Whorled with 4 to 6 leaves at each node. Leaves are lanceolate to elliptic in outline, approximately 5 to 15 mm long and 2 to 4 mm wide. Leaves taper to a distinct tip and are hairy.
|Stems: May be either prostrate
along the ground (typical), erect, or prostrate with some tips ascending. Stems are
square in cross-section and also hairy.
Flowers: Occur in clusters at the ends of the stems. Individual flowers are 3 to 4 mm in length and pink to purple in color.
|Identifying Characteristics: The square stems, whorled leaves, and pink to purple flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of field madder. Field madder is often mistaken for either Smooth Bedstraw (Galium mollugo) or catchweed bedstraw (Galium aparine). However, the leaves of the bedstraws are generally larger and occur in whorls of 6 to 8 unlike field madder. Additionally, the leaves of field madder are more lanceolate and have much more of a distinct point than those of the bedstraw species.|