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Weed Identification




Scientific Name

Kochia scoparia

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Kochia alata
Kochia scoparia
Kochia trichophylla
Kochia trichophila
Kochia sieversiana


Occur alternately along the stem. Leaves are linear to lanceolate in outline, ranging from 1 to2 inches in length, and taper to a point. Leaves do not occur on petioles (sessile) and usually only have hairs along the leaf margins.

Identifying Characteristics

An erect, much-branched summer annual weed of agronomic crops, pastures, and roadsides. The highly branched nature of kochia and the hairs that occur along the leaf margins are characteristics that help to distinguish this weed from most other species. Young kochia seedlings may be confused with Common Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) seedlings but the cotyledons of this weed are hairless.

Flower Seed Head

Flowers: 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.Fruit: A small bladder known as an utricle

Seed Fruit

Seedlings: Cotyledons are very narrow, essentially linear in outline, dull green in color, and covered with hairs. The first true leaves are also very narrow and linear to elliptic in outline. Young leaves are also covered with hairs and especially have hairs along the leaf margins.Stems: Erect, ranging from 1 to 4 feet in height. Stems are much branched and often have a reddish tint.

Where Found

Kochia does not occur in Virginia, but is continually spreading South from the northern United States where it is a common weed. Kochia is also present in the western and southwestern United States.

Growth Habit

upright and nonwoody

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter


Dominant Flower Color


Flower Symmetry

radial symmetery

Leaf Hairs

has hairs

Leaf Shape


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Margin


Leaf Structure


Leaf Stalk


Stem Hairs

no hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Root Structure


Life Cycle

summer annual


not present

Plant Type