Family: Goosefoot, Chenopodiaceae.
Habitat: Agronomic crop fields, pastures, and roadsides.
Life cycle: Summer annual.
Growth habit: Erect with much branching.
Leaves: Occur alternately along the stem. Leaves are linear to lanceolate in outline, ranging from 1 to 2 inches in length, and taper to a point. Leaves do not occur on petioles (sessile) and usually only have hairs along the leaf margins.
Stem: Erect, ranging from 1 to 4 feet in height. Stems are much branched and often have a reddish tint.
Flower: 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.
Similar Plants: Young kochia seedlings may be confused with common lambsquarters.
The Problem is……..Kochia is a highly adaptable plant that invades a wide variety of habitats. It provides a significant challenge to right-of-way maintenance professionals because of its ability to develop resistance to many herbicides. This plant has been reported to reduce crop yields in cereal grain by 100% in severe infestations. It is also an alternate host for beet yellows and tobacco mosaic virus.
Currently there are 21 weeds on the Ohio Prohibited Noxious Weed List:
- Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor) – February 8
- Russian thistle (Salsola Kali var. tenuifolia) – February 22
- Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense L. (Pers.))
- Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
- Wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace) (Daucus carota L.)
- Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthermum leucanthemum var. pinnatifidum)
- Wild mustard (Brassica kaber var. pinnatifida)
- Grapevines: when growing in groups of one hundred or more and not pruned, sprayed,cultivated, or otherwise maintained for two consecutive years. – February 15
- Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense L. (Scop.)) – March 29
- Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
- Cressleaf groundsel (Senecio glabellus)
- Musk thistle (Carduus nutans) – March 26
- Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) – April 17
- Mile-A-Minute Weed (Polygonum perfoliatum) – March 7
- Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) – March 14
- Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) – February 28
- Marestail (Conyza canadensis)
- Kochia (Bassia scoparia) – May 1
- Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri)
- Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) – April 11
- Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) – April 2
Each week, for the next 21 weeks, I will post information and pictures on how to identify these invasive and harmful plants.