How Do You Identify Different Weeds?

How Do You Identify Different Weeds?

To identify different weeds, examine the weeds, and determine their characteristics, such as stem type, leaf shape and root structure. Use an online guide on websites, such as and University of Wisconsin's Weed Identification and Management, to identify the name of the weeds by their qualities.

A broadleaf weed with spreading plants usually has stems growing horizontally, close to the ground. This type of weed includes different species of clovers, buttercups and chickweeds.

If the weed's leaves grow out of one spot on the stem and form a circle, this is a weed that forms rosettes. The leaves often grow from the base of the weed. An example of a weed that forms rosettes is a dandelion.

If a broadleaf weed's leaves twist around its stem, it's a weed with whorled leaves. There are usually three to six leaves on each nodule on the stem. Bedstraw is a good example of a weed with whorled leaves.

The weed’s mature leaves also serve well for identifying the species. These leaves can have different shapes, such as shamrock or heart, leaves with toothed edges or leaves with divides that go deep into the leaves. Some weeds also have football or egg shapes, including the broadleaved dock. Examining patterns on the leaves, their lobes and veins can also help to identify the weed. Flowers are another thing that helps to distinguish one weed from the other.