Need Help Identifying Weeds?

Need Help Identifying Weeds?

After all the winter rains you may find yourself dealing with weeds and struggling to control them. The first step in successfully controlling weeds is knowing what weed you have. Well, you're in luck: the UC IPM website contains many useful resources to help you identify and manage weeds in the garden or landscape.

A great place to start is the Weed Gallery, which contains images and identification tips for more than 150 common weeds.

If you think you know the name of your weed, you can use the common or scientific name to view photos to confirm identification. Just use the “List of All Weeds” link from the main weed gallery page.

If you don't know what the weed is, the gallery will help you identify the plant using visual characteristics. First, narrow your search by choosing “identification” in the weed category—broadleaf, grass, sedge, or aquatic plant. That will show you a collection of photos in that category.

Select the photo of the plant form or leaf characteristic that resembles your weed (Figure 1) to see another sub-menu of weeds that exhibit more traits of your weed. Scrolling over a thumbnail image on this sub-menu will bring up several photos of the weed—as a seedling and mature plant, its flower, and seeds—to further help you identify it.

Once you think you've identified the weed, click on the linked weed name, which will take you to a photo gallery page. Here you will find details about the weed's habitat, growth characteristics, and life stages. For many weeds, there is a link to the Pest Notes that will give you information about its management, both chemical and nonchemical. Each page in the gallery also links to the Calflora website to show where the weed grows in California.

The gallery contains other features as well:

  • Want to know more about plants and their parts? Illustrated tutorials distinguish among broadleaf, grass, and sedge plants and define plant parts used in characterizing certain plant species.
  • Need to find out what weeds are in your lawns? The broadleaf and grass categories link to an identification key for common turf weeds.
  • Didn't find your weed? See the weed identification tool under “More information” to search the UC Weed Research & Information Center (WRIC) technical weed key.

You can find the weed gallery page on the left-hand column of the main Home & Landscape page on the UC IPM web site or from the many weed-related pages. To access the weed gallery directly, visit

Visit UC IPM's Weeds library page to find general weed management tips, individual weed-related Pest Notes, the weed gallery, key to weeds in turf, and other useful resources.

[Originally featured in the Spring 2024 edition of the Home & Garden Pest Newsletter]



By Karey Windbiel-Rojas
Author - Associate Director for Urban & Community IPM/ Area Urban IPM Advisor