Weed of the week – Common Waterhemp

Common Waterhemp

Family: Amaranthaceae (Pigweed)

Lifecycle: Annual

Description: Erect plant up to 8 feet tall.   Leaves are glossy, alternate, ovate to lanceolate.  A dioecious species, thus plants are either male or female.  Highly variable in shape and color, ranging from yellowish green, dark green to reddish green.  Stems are hairless.

Seedlings: Seedling leaves are oar shaped, first true leaves appear lance-shaped and have a minute notch at the tip of the leaf.


Roots: Fibrous root system from a well developed tap root.

Stem: Stems are brightly colored and range in color from murky red or pink to green. Stems are without hairs and appear glossy.


Leaves: Leaves are without hairs are oval to lanceolate in shape and have a waxy appearance. Common waterhemp leaves are alternate and measure 1-15cm in length and 0.5-3.0cm in width.

Flowers/Seed head: Common waterhemp is dioecious having male and female parts on seperate plants. Flowers and bracts are green to reddish pink and have spikes that are densely packed.

Special identifying characteristics: A long petiole, Waxy and hairless stems, and leaves are prime characteristics of common waterhemp. This summer annual produces a large seedhead and commonly reaches 6 feet in height. Seeds are difficult to see with the naked eye and measure 1mm in diameter.

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