Winter Annual Seedlings You May See: Preplant to Planting

Each name links to more information on identification and biology. See the weed photo gallery for more weeds.

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Whitestem filaree seedling.
Identification tip: Cotyledons are lobed (3-4 lobes); the largest is the center lobe. Young leaves are arranged as opposite or alternate. Both leaves and stems are bristly and hairy.
Chickweed seedling.
Common chickweed
Identification tip: Seed leaves are oval with a hairy stalk as long as the blade, have prominent midveins, and are about four times as long as broad, tapering to a point at the tip. True leaves are egg-shaped to rounded, pointed at the apex, opposite, and yellow-green.
Seedling of common groundsel, Senecio vulgaris.
Common groundsel
Identification tip: Seed leaves are elongate and club-shaped, with a blunt, rounded tip. The first true leaves have shallow teeth; the third and fourth leaves are more deeply lobed. Stalks of the cotyledons and true leaves are grooved. The cotyledons and young leaves are often purplish on the lower surface.
Shepherd's-purse seedling.
Identification tip: Seed leaves are pale green with tiny granules on the surface. The first true leaves have smooth margins, but fourth and later leaves may be indented. The true leaves are covered with star-shaped hairs that distinguish shepherd's-purse from most other weed seedlings.
Annual sowthistle seedling.
Identification tip: Seedling has markedly stalked, almost spoon-shaped seed leaves, rounded at the tip. The seed leaves and young leaves often have a grayish-white powdery coating, but later leaves have only a few hairs.
Mustard seedling.
Identification tip: All mustard seedlings have broad seed leaves with a deep notch at the tip. The first true leaves are bright green on the upper surface and paler below.
Seedling of common purslane, Portulaca oleracea.
Common purslane
Identification tip: Seed leaves are oblong, somewhat club-shaped and succulent, maroon on the lower surface, and either green or maroon on the upper surface. Young leaves are smooth and succulent, green on the upper surface, and maroonish underneath, oblong, broadest around the apex, with a short petiole.
Wild radish seedling, Raphanus raphanistrum.
Wild radish
Identification tip: Seed leaves are broad with a deep notch at the tip. The first true leaves are irregularly lobed and may have separate lobes at the base of the leaf blade. Seedlings resemble mustards in the genus Brassica but are duller green and rougher textured.
Redmaids (desert rockpurslane) young plant.
Identification tip: Seed leaves are long, narrow, and bright green. First true leaves are somewhat broader, fleshy, and lacking definite stalks, distinguishing them from the seedlings of miner's lettuce.
Seedling of London rocket, Sisymbrium irio, at the four-leaf stage.
London rocket
Identification tip: The margins of the seedling’s first true leaves are always indented, distinguishing seedlings of London rocket from those of shepherd’s purse. Seedlings have deeply lobed leaves.
Seedling of prickly lettuce, Lactuca serriola.
Prickly lettuce
Identification tip: Seedlings have cotyledons that are about twice as long as they are wide. The first true leaves have rounded margins. Leaves are alternate, clasp the stem, and may be lobed or entire with prickly margins.
Little mallow, Malva parviflora, seedling.
Identification tip: Seed leaves are distinctly heart-shaped and tinged red on relatively long grooved stalks that are hairy in the ridges. True leaves are alternate, roundish and somewhat crinkly, with wavy, shallow-toothed margins and a red spot at the leaf base.
Seedling of coast fiddleneck.
Identification tip: Seedlings have "Y" shaped cotyledons with tiny blisters and a few fine hairs. Early leaves have coarse, sharp hairs and are 4 to 6 times as long as they are wide.
Shiny, varnished appearance of ryegrass seedlings.
Identification tip for annual ryegrass: The first blade is long and narrow and stands erect. Leaves are rolled in the bud, the ligule is membranous; generally, auricles are present, but may be absent on very young seedlings. Blades are about 50 times longer than they are wide and have a shiny, varnished appearance. Identification tip for perennial ryegrass: Shorter than annual ryegrass with distorted auricles.
No photo available
Identification tip: Seedlings look similar to large crabgrass and can be distinguished by the lighter green color and absence of hairs.
Seedling of foxtail barley, Hordeum jubatum.
Foxtail barley
Identification tip: The collar region has membranous ligules and, unlike hare barley, has no auricles.
Seedling of foxtail barley, Hordeum jubatum.
Lovegrass U
Identification tip: The seedling is very narrow, light green, and inconspicuous. The second and third leaves are light green, short, and about 1/10 inch wide. Tufts of hair arise from the base of the third leaf.
Annual bluegrass seedling.
Annual bluegrass
Identification tip: Annual bluegrass can easily be distinguished from other grasses by its leaf tip, which is shaped like the bow of a boat. The leaf blade is often crinkled at the midsection. Annual bluegrass has a membranous ligule that is rounded with a slightly pointed tip.
Wild oats seedling.
Wild oat
Identification tip: Seedlings have hairy foliage, like hare barley. However, wild oat keeps the seed from which it is growing for a long time.
Domestic Cereals and Perennials
Collar regions of (left to right) barley, wheat, and oat.
Identification tip: Wheat can be distinguished from most other grasses by the way the ligules clasp the stem but barely overlap. Ligules on barley plants are longer and overlap one another more completely. Shown left to right are collar regions of barley, wheat, and oats.
Wild oats seedling.
Perennial clovers: White clover
Identification tip: Cotyledons are spatulate and smooth with blades that taper into the petiole. The first leaf is simple, truncated at the base, and round to broadly oval. Later leaves are trifoliate, smooth, alternate, gray-green on the lower surface, and green on the upper surface. There is usually a light-green splotch near the base of each leaflet.

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