Common Waterhemp

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Seedlings.  Key characteristics: cotyledons are very small and nearly linear.

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Vegetative plants.  Key characteristics: leaves and stems are smooth giving the plant a glossy appearance.  Leaves are longer and narrower than those of redroot pigweed.

Early season infestation of common waterhemp.


Stem color is highly variable in common waterhemp, ranging from yellowish-green to red or reddish-purple.

Common waterhemp has dioecious flowers, meaning that male and female flowers are present on separate plants.  Male flowers on left plant; female flowers on right plant.


Seed.  Seed are flattened and oval-shaped with a glossy shine.  Diameter is slightly less than 1.0 mm.

Toxic Plant: Cattle and swine are the animals most likely to be affected; goats and sheep can also be poisoned.  Leaves, stems and roots are toxic.  The most common symptom in cattle is bloat as it accumulates nitrates.

Life cycle: summer annual.