Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter. Prickly lawn weeds are the worst. They don’t just ruin the aesthetic of your lawn - they’re darn painful to step on! I talk about the most common culprits here. Lunaria money plants are not a common sight in the garden but their care is fairly simply for those who want to take advantage of their interesting traits. Read this article for additional information.
Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium
Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter.
Cotyledons (seed leaves) are narrow and about 2-4cm long, shriveling but persisting on the developing seedling. The first true leaves are ovate with pointed tips and few or no lobes. Later leaves distinctly alternate (1 per node), usually somewhat coarsely and sharply toothed or lobed, 10-20cm long and long-stalked.
Flowers and Fruit
Flowers and seedpods short-stalked, borne singly in the angles between 2 or more stems and a leaf. The calyx is tubular or urn-shaped. The corolla is white or light purple, very long, tubular or trumpet-shaped, 7-10cm long with the flared end having 5 points. The seedpod is at first green and fleshy with sharp, soft spines, becoming a large (2-5cm across), dry, hard seedpod covered with very sharp, harsh spines and containing numerous black, flat, round seeds. Flowers from July to autumn.
Jimsonweed occurs in the warmer parts of southern Ontario in cultivated fields and around farmyards.
It is distinguished by its tall, stout, branched stem (like small trees), large leaves, large, white or purplish trumpet-shaped flowers, large spiny seedpod and sour repulsive odour.
All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Human Health Issues
All parts of the jimsonweed plant are poisonous and are fatal if consumed in high quantities. Its toxicity is caused by tropane alkaloids.
Jimsonweed. A. Top of flowering plant. B. Seedling. C. Fruit.
linear cotyledons of Jimsonweed
A young seedling plant.
Large seedling plant prior to flowering.
The poisonous seeds of Jimsonweed
Table of Contents
weedinfo.ca was designed to be an ever-growing knowledge base of weed information. Combining biological and identifying characteristics of top interfering species along with new emerging research articles, media, and control options, weedinfo.ca provides the tools to make informed risk-reducing weed control decisions.
Prickly Lawn Weeds (7 Different Types)
It’s a brand new morning with the birds singing and a soft, gentle breeze. A hot cup of coffee sits in your hand, the steam and aroma waft up as you take a deep breath. You place your bare feet onto your soft, spongy turf then… ouch! You found a prickly lawn weed! When this happened to me, it meant war, and I set out to identify, research, and destroy every last spiky weed on my lawn.
Stick around while I identify different types of weeds with thorns and tell you how to get rid of each type of prickly weed you may find on your lawn.
Most Common Prickly Lawn Weeds (Short Answer)
Burr Medic, Goat Head Weed, and Lawn Burweed are low-growing prickly lawn weeds. Spiny Sowthistle and Spiny Cocklebur are high-growing spiky weeds you may see on your lawn that can release painful burrs you may never see. Carolina Horsenettle and Jimson Weed are nightshade relatives and are both weeds with thorns on their stems.
A Closer Look at the Different Prickly Lawn Weeds
Some weeds may give you a prick when you touch them, while others may stick into your flesh as you pass. One thing is for sure, none of them are good for your lawn. Anything that scratches, pokes, stabs, or slices needs to be removed from your turf ASAP.
Below I’m going to talk you through some of the most common types so you can identify and then hopefully remove them too, restoring order to your lawn.
Burr Medic (Medicago polymorpha)
What It Does: This lawn weed with thorns grows low and, sporting trifoliate leaves, blends in with clover in a yard. Burr medic puts up small yellow flowers in March and June and then produces seed pods. By late summer, the pods dry up and open, dumping several seeds across the turf. These pods have spikes that allow them to hitchhike and spread throughout your lawn.
What It Looks Like: Burr Medic is related to Black Medic and resembles Clover. It has a thin, smooth, red-purple stem and produces oblong, green leaves. The leaves alternate along the stem in groups of three. The leaf tips are serrated and appear sharper than other trifoliate weeds. These prickly lawn weeds produce yellow pea-shaped flowers that are arranged in clusters of 2 to 10. Seed pods are green to brown with a sharp hook.
How to Get Rid of It: You can remove a small patch of these spiky weeds by hand, but make sure you wear gloves. It is best to remove them when you see the yellow flowers before they drop seeds. If there is a larger area of Burr Medic, you can use a broadleaf herbicide to kill it.
Goat Head Weed (Tribulus Terrestris)
What It Does: A fast, low-to-the-ground prickly weed that can grow a dense, prostrate stem mat up to 5ft long. Goat Head Weed overtakes dry, damaged, and neglected areas and then creates tons of inconspicuous flowers. As these flowers die away, seed pods are formed with several pointy spikes. These barbs can grab onto anything and get spread far and wide. They grow a deep taproot that can be hard to separate from the turf.
What It Looks Like: Goat Head Weed goes through several lifecycle stages and can be hard to identify before it’s too late. In the early stages, on a lawn, it will be hard to see and identify. As it grows large, the stem will remain erect in a crowed area to compete for light. In the open, it will sprawl across the ground and not stand upright. When it blooms, you will see bright yellow flowers with 5 petals each, roughly the same size as the leaves of the weed. These spiky weeds on your lawn turn reddish-brown after they flower.
How to Get Rid of It: While there are many ways to kill this weed, its complete destruction and the removal of all seed burrs are very difficult. To kill the plant, you can burn it with fire until the mass above the taproot is charred. Vinegar with 5% acidity or higher and herbicides like glyphosate and oryzalin are also effective. Once the weed is dead, you can rake or pull an old carpet over the area to collect the dreaded Goat’s Heads.
Lawn Burweed (Soliva sessilis)
What It Does: Found in thin and patchy turf, these prickly weeds on your lawn can be a real nuisance. Lawn Burweed germinates in the fall and grows through the winter when turf may be dormant. When the temperature warms up in the spring, these weeds produce buried seed pods that are carried throughout the lawn all summer and cause a painful sting when stepped on.
What It Looks Like: Early detection is key to preventing these burrs from occupying your lawn. Burwood grows low and branches freely. It has small, grayish-green leaves that grow opposite and are sparsely hairy. It produces small, ¼ of an inch flowers that can go almost completely unnoticed on a lawn. These flowers are replaced by small spine-tipped burrs that are often felt rather than seen.
How to Get Rid of It: Maintaining a thick, lush lawn throughout the winter months will prevent prickly lawn weeds like Burweed. If you can identify it in winter, you can use post-emergence herbicide through December, January, and February. After that, it will be hard to control without killing your turf and you should pull up (with gloves) and rake what you can and plan to attack next winter.
Spiny Sowthistle (Sonchus asper)
What It Does: Not a true thistle, this spiky weed starts with a basal rosette that closely resembles thistles. Spiny Sowthistle grows in neglected areas and can get up to 6ft tall. The leaves of this plant are very prickly and the flowers develop from spiky buds. It exudes a milky sap when cut that is quite sticky. Accidentally hitting these prickly weeds on your lawn with a weed whacker can create a sticky, spiky mess.
What It Looks Like: Spiny Sowthistle resembles a spiky dandelion. It has similar leaves, albeit much more prickly, that are a similar bluish-green. It produces the same yellow flower and the same tuft of white seeds. It is much larger than a dandelion and spreads rapidly.
How to Get Rid of It: Manual removal of Spiny Sowthistle is possible if the area is small. Wearing gloves, full skin coverings, closed-toed shoes, and eye protection, you can dig out the roots of this weed in the spring before it flowers. To discourage regrowth, you can pour vinegar around the base of the weeds. For larger areas, you will need to apply 2,4D or glyphosate herbicide to each plant before it flowers. After the plant dies back, dig it up by the roots and reapply the herbicide into the hole where you removed the weed. Do this until they stop coming back.
Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum)
What It Does: High-growing lawn weeds with thorns, these invaders can reach 3 and a half feet tall. They produce a deep taproot and take over dry, disturbed territory. When the flowers die, a two-chamber burr is released. Each burr has two seeds, one germinates that following spring but the other delays for 2 or more years. Complete removal is a multi-year process.
What It Looks Like: An erect stem with many branches, this tall annual has yellow, 3-parted spines. The leaves are lance-shaped, 2 inches long, and smooth on top. Each leaf is shiny, dark green, and has small white hairs on its underside. The flowers are inconspicuous cream to green in color and bloom from December to May.
How to Get Rid of It: Hand removal and chemical treatment are both effective ways to eliminate these prickly lawn weeds. For hand removal, you will want to wear full protective gear, as these weeds can irritate the skin. Pull up all Spiny Cocklebur and any seedlings and dispose of them – don’t compost the waste! You will need to repeat this each spring for the next few years. Mowing on your highest lawn setting once a week during the early spring and as frequently as needed during the late spring can prevent Cocklebur from producing seeds. A post-emergent herbicide applied at the start of the year can also be effective.
Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)
What It Does: A member of the nightshade family, it is not a nettle but grows like one. It occupies dry and damaged turf. While the fruit of these weeds may look like tiny tomatoes, they are toxic to people and pets, and simply touching the plant can cause you to break out in rashes. They grow tall and emerge in spring when they choke out thin turf. Worst of all, they are lawn weeds with thorns on their stems and leaves.
What It Looks Like: Carolina Horsenettle looks like a spiky vine that creeps across the ground. They have prickly, oblong, dull green leaves that are about 2 to 6 inches long. These prickly weeds bloom from May to September and open between 5 and 20 pale violet, star-shaped flowers. The fruits look like little tomatoes, but turn from green to yellow and never turn red.
How to Get Rid of It: Getting rid of these types of weeds with thorns can be very tricky. It spreads by creeping roots and root fragments, as well as by seeds. Each plant can produce 5,000 seeds. Hand-pulling is not advised because of the long thorns that can penetrate even gloved hands. A glyphosate herbicide can be sprayed or painted onto the weeds. After the weeds die off in a few weeks, they must be dug up and another application of herbicide should be applied to the holes to kill any root fragments. Repeat as needed.
Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium)
What It Does: Another spiky relative of the tomato, Jimson Weed produces big poisonous fruits encased in a spiky shell. Jimson Weed can grow to several feet and produces flowers from May to September. They create spiky seed pods that burst open and spill hundreds of seeds all over the place.
What It Looks Like: A broadleaf annual, this prickly lawn weed can grow to 4ft tall. The leaves are lanced-shaped, oblong, and about 2in long. The colors of the stalks and stems of these weeds can range from green to purple. Each flowering stem produces a single white, trumpet-shaped flower that opens to around 2 inches.
How to Get Rid of It: While wearing gloves, you can hand pull Jimson Weed before it produces seeds. Place all yard waste in a bag and dispose away from your lawn. Repeated pulling of infested areas should yield a weed-free yard in a few seasons. A selective herbicide can be used to treat a larger area where this invasive plant is present.
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the “lawn mower guru” (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Copyright © 2010 – 2022 · LawnMowerGuru.com, All Rights Reserved.
Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. You can learn more about this here.
Money Plant Care Instructions – Tips On How To Grow Money Plants
Lunaria, Silver Dollar: The Pilgrims brought them to the colonies on the Mayflower. Thomas Jefferson grew them in the famous gardens of Monticello and mentioned them in his letters. Today, if you look up money plant care, instructions are scarce. Perhaps this is because many gardeners consider caring for a money plant the same as caring for a weed.
Money Plant Growing Info
Also known as Honesty, of the genus Lunaria, silver dollar plants are named for their fruit, with pods dry to flat silverish discs about the size of — you guessed it — silver dollars. They hail from Europe and were one of the first flowers grown in the dooryard gardens of the New World for their pods and edible roots. They are members of the family Brassicaceae or mustard family, which is evident in their foliage: fast-growing, single stems that can reach about 2 feet (61 cm.) high with broad oval leaves that are coarsely toothed.
There is nothing mustard-like about the flowers, however. They are delicate, four-petaled, pink to purple blossoms grown in racemes or clusters atop the long stems and bloom in early to midsummer. The seed pods produced by these dainty flowers are what make caring for a money plant worthwhile. By late summer, the large flat seed pods have dried to silvery discs that show off the seeds inside.
Maybe those gardeners who consider the flower to be a pest have a valid argument. Once you learn how to grow money plants, they tend to become permanent additions to the landscape and pop up anywhere except where you wanted them. Even some experts refer to them in their money plant growing info as weeds. Shame on them! They certainly aren’t suitable for more formal gardens, but they can be a delight elsewhere.
Still, there are some very good reasons for caring for money plants in your garden.
Why Grow Lunaria Silver Dollar
Nothing interests kids in flower gardening like learning about how to grow money plants. The seeds sprout easily. The plants grow quickly. The flowers are delightful and no child can resist those fascinating seed pods. Money plant care instructions are easy to follow and plants are easy to ignore! They’ll happily grow in a patch of weeds.
For many of us with more informal style gardens, surprises are always welcome and considered part of the fun. Nothing is as surprising as the money plant. Growing info usually points this out as a negative because the silver dollar’s papery pods are carried like kites on the wind and germinate where they fall. While lunarias are biennials, growing one year and flowering the next, they are so prolific they are often mistaken for perennials and considered invasive. What the money plant growing info usually fails to mention is they are so much easier to weed out than most other garden annoyances.
The dried stalks of the Lunaria silver dollar plant makes excellent additions to dried flower arrangements created from your landscape either in conjunction with other plants, such as grasses, or alone clustered in a vase.
Money Plant Care Instructions – Tips on How to Grow Money Plants
Money plant care instructions are easy and straightforward. Seeds can be directly sown at any time from spring to fall but are easiest to plant in the spring. Sprinkle them on the earth and cover with a light coating of soil and water well.
They prefer a sunny location, but will grow well in semi-shade and have no particular preference for soil type, which is why they are so likely to turn up growing among your more fussy garden plants. Anywhere is home to a money plant!
Care instructions usually include at least one dose of general use fertilizer per year, but again, they’ll accept whatever you offer surrounding plants.
Once it germinates, caring for a money plant is just that simple. If the weather becomes too dry, they appreciate a little water, but not too much. About the only thing a Lunaria silver dollar objects to is soggy feet.
Give them a try and form your own opinion about the value of learning how to grow money plants in your garden.