Some weeds, like thistles, are easily identifiable. But if you run across one you’re not quite so sure about, grab your fancy phone or tablet. The University of Missouri Extension has an app for you called, “ID Weeds.”
ID Weeds allows you to research and identify weeds by several means. Under “Identify”, the app leads you through a series of questions to help narrow down what your weed in question looks like and subsequently identify.
The app’s search function allows you to type in the name of the weed you are looking for and then describes it to you. For example, type in thistle and it pops up with pictures of nine varieties of thistles. According to ID Weeds, the thistle I’ve pictured above is the Tall Thistle which is a species of Cirsium. It goes on to give a general description of where it is normally found and when it blooms. It describes its roots, stems, leaves, fruit, and other distinctive characteristics.
The app also has an alphabetical list of weeds and their corresponding pictures. Select a picture of a weed and you’ll get its description and characteristics.
Like beauty, weeds are in the eye of the beholder. I noticed that some of the “good” grasses we have in our pastures, such as birdsfoot trefoil, orchard grass, and red clover are listed as weeds. I suppose they are when they’re choking my carrots.
I’ll put this app to good use when the weather warms and the weeds challenge my vegetables to a growing competition. I hope you’ll find it helpful, too.