Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a native annual weed found in many places throughout the world. It is considered to be an invasive plant in Central and South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and North America.
The species name, artemisiifolia, was initially given to the weed because its leaves bear a visual resemblance to the leaves of Artemisia, the genuine wormwood species. It is also known, variously, as bitter weed, black weed, carrot weed, stammerwort, stickweed, and American wormwood.
The weed is a common sight on roadsides, fields, cultivated ground, and other kinds of disturbed soil. Its removal is intensively sought because ragweed pollen is one of the primary causes of hay fever in the areas mentioned above.
Nonetheless, it is tricky to eradicate. Its seeds can survive below ground for a staggering thirty-nine years. It is extremely competitive and dominates easily because it is able to absorb huge amounts of the trace elements in the soil. If ragweed is allowed to grow unchecked, close to other plants or crops, it can cause extreme nutritional deficiencies.
If you suspect that you have common ragweed growing in your garden, it is important to positively identify the species and remove it, as part of your lawn maintenance or weed control routine. The plant can grow up to 3’’ tall, and it has many leafy branches. Its leaves can be as long as 6’’ and as wide as 4’’. They are pinnatifid in shape, which means that they split into corresponding segments on either side.
As for the flowers, they are fairly small and start off green. As they mature, they take on either a yellow or brown color. They are around an eighth of an inch long, and the male flowers produce a fine yellow pollen. It is this pollen that irritates hay fever sufferers after it is carried great distances by the wind in summer and early fall.
As mentioned, it is difficult to get rid of common ragweed. The plant can survive mowing, trampling, grazing, and pulling, so it is best to introduce a suitable weed control program to your lawn care routine. Or, call in the help of a reliable lawn service.