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Weed Identification




Scientific Name

Distichlis spicata

Other Common Names:

desert saltgrass
marsh spikegrass
sea-shore salt-grass
inland saltgrass

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Distichlis spicata ssp. stricta
Distichlis spicata var. stolonifera
Distichlis spicata var. borealis
Uniola spicata
Distichlis spicata var. nana
Distichlis spicata var. stricta
Distichlis spicata var. divaricata
Distichlis stricta


This crawling perennial, flowers from February through November.


The alternate leaves are composed of three ovate or elliptic leaflets. Each 2 to 6 mm long leaflets are hairy and have rounded teeth along the margins. The creeping stems have many runners, and are also hairy.

Identifying Characteristics

This plant is similar to the wild strawberry, and can be identified by the rounded teeth on the leaf margins, and also by the yellow flowers. Unlike cinquefoil, there are only 3 leaflets.

Flower Seed Head

Single flowers arise from the leaf axils on long petioles. Each small flower has 5 yellow petals.

Seed Fruit

The small, fleshy, strawberry-like fruit can be found from April through November. The surface of each fruit is covered with many small pits, or achenes, containing the seeds.

Where Found

This plant prefers moist, open, shady areas, and can be found growing along forests, in pastures, and in lawns.

Life Cycle


Plant Type