Q: What is the weed with a reddish colored seed head which is showing up everywhere along the road sides right now?

A: I suspect you are referring to Heart-wing Sorrel, Rumex hastatulus, which is in the buckwheat family. It is a medium to tall annual weed found along many roadside and local pastures. Leaves are basal, which means they grow close to the ground in a cluster. The species name “hastatulus” is Latin for spear-shaped which refers to the appearance of the leaves. The flowers start out green and turn red when mature. If you look at the individual flowers closely, you will see they are heart-shaped from which it derives its common name. It reproduces by seed only.

This weed is common on sandy soil throughout the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. It occurs in Florida from the central part of the state northward into the southeastern United States to Texas, and northward through the Midwest to Montana and Illinois and through the Northeast to Massachusetts. The seeds are a common wild bird food. Oxalates in this plant can be poisonous by binding calcium in the blood. The sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fw036

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Posted: July 16, 2017


Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Heart-wing Sorrel, Rumex Hastatulus, Weed


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