COLUMBIA, Mo. – When weeds invade your field, pasture, garden or lawn, you want to use the right weapon for fighting back.

“Proper identification of weeds is important so that you choose an appropriate and cost-effective method of control,” said Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri Extension weed scientist.

There are hundreds of common weed species in Missouri, but an online tool from the MU Weed Science program can help you narrow your list of suspects.

The MU Weed ID Guide—available in desktop and mobile versions at and—has information on more than 400 plant species that can show up as weeds of field and horticultural crops, pastures, lawns, gardens, and noncrop or aquatic areas in Missouri and surrounding states, Bradley said.

“The website has a keying system that allows users to identify an unknown plant after they have selected the appropriate characteristics from a series of drop-down boxes,” he said.

Pop-up illustrations help the user identify more obscure characteristics such as the presence of ligules, auricles and petioles.

“If you have some idea as to what your weed species might be, you can simply type all or part of the common or scientific name into the appropriate text box,” Bradley said.

Once you’ve narrowed the possibilities to a reasonable number of candidates, the site will display the names and photos of weeds that match the characteristics you selected, with links to more information about each plant.

Bradley said an improved mobile version of the website is in the works that will better match the usability of apps for smartphones and tablet computers.

MU Extension publications on weed management

Lawn and garden:

Farms and fields:

MU Extension Plant Protection Programs:

MU Weed Science Program:

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