How do I know if a plant is a weed?


How do I know if a plant is a weed?


A weed is any plant growing out of place.

A weed is simply a plant out of place.   By this definition, any plant could be a weed if growing in a location where it is not wanted.  

There are some species of plants, such as thistle and poison ivy, that are rarely wanted in the lawn or garden setting and are often growing out of place. These plants are frequently classified as a weed.  They are often tolerant of a wide range of environmental growing conditions making them more likely to establish themselves in the garden.  These weedy species often propgate themselves easily by seed and/or by runners, stolons, or other vegetative means.  

picture of plantain weed
A common weed, broadleaf plantain (Plantago major)

No one species of plant is always considered a weed in all settings and no species of plant is never considered a weed - although some species are more often growing where we don't want them than others!

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on . The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.