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weed seed identification pictures

Weed seed identification pictures

Photos of Seedlings in the Database

Many of the seedlings are also shown in the Database with the pictures of the seeds and seedpods. These are listed in alphabetical order of the Latin name, but they also have the English common name for each plant, together with the Plant Family and germination information. The method I used to get the seeds to germinate is also noted there, and there’s germination information about many more species in the Germination section. There are also photos of more weed seedlings, flowers, and information in the entry about weeds in the Botany section.

How do I know if what’s come up is what I planted or a weed?

As well as the photos of seedlings here, and the photos of weed seedlings here, you can tell at a glance if your seedlings are the same type of plant as the seed you sowed. Monocotyledons have one seed leaf. Monocots include Grasses, Palms, Aroids and Bulbs. Most other types of garden plants are dicots. Dicotyledons have two seed leaves. If you have a baby plant with one seed leaf where you’ve only sown dicots, then it’s probably grass – a weed. If you’ve sown seeds of monocots and your seedling has two leaves, it’s probably a weed.

Why are my seedlings spindly?

If you sow seeds too thickly, you don’t just get more plants, you get more plants that are all fighting to get to the light, so they end up long and leggy, unable to support themselves. To avoid this, sow seeds thinly. If it’s already happened, you can often rescue them by planting them a bit deeper when you prick them out.

What’s pricking out?

Pricking out just means moving the seedlings from the pot with all the others and giving them more space, usually in a small pot of their own, or into a seed tray or a tray of cells. If they’re large seedlings, this is easy. Just fill the new container with compost and firm it gently, then make a hole for each seedling. A pencil is often used, or your finger. Then lift the seedling carefully by its leaves, and drop it into the hole. Carefully fill the hole with compost, and press it round the seedling gently. If the seedlings are small, you should lift them out of their old pot using something like an old fork or screwdriver, and drop them into the hole. If they’re very tiny, you’re better dropping them in in small clumps so you don’t damage their tiny roots.

What’s transplanting, then?

Transplanting is usually putting the small plants into the garden, either in their final position or in a nursery bed.

What’s a Nursery Bed?

A nursery bed is a part of the garden where you put young plants that are too big for pots and do better in the garden, but you don’t want to put them in their flowering position yet. They might not flower in their first year, or you might want to see what colour and size they are before you choose a final place for them, or you might be waiting for something else to die down before you put the new plants in to replace them.

What’s ‘Hardening Off’?

If you sow your seeds somewhere warm, like indoors or in a heated greenhouse, they won’t be strong enough to withstand the normal outdoor temperature straight away. They need to get used to colder temperatures gradually, so they can grow smaller cells, closer together, which are stronger than the sappy ones that form when the plants are in easier conditions. When the weather’s getting warmer, and there’s not likely to be any frost, you start taking your seedlings outside for a short time each day, bringing them back under cover at night. You gradually increase the time they’re outside until after about two weeks, they’re outside day and night.

Why have my seedlings suddenly collapsed?

Sometimes, new seedlings can just fall over and die, often starting in small patches that spread to all the seedlings in a pot. This is usually due to a fungus and is called damping-off. It often happens when seedlings are crowded, so it’s better to sow seeds thinly in the first place. You can also spray the compost before you sow the seeds, using a fungicide called Cheshunt compound, which is a mixture of copper sulphate and ammonium carbonate. Larger seedlings are sometimes affected by a similar disease called wilt or black-leg.

Is it better to keep my seedlings covered or uncovered?

Seeds appreciate warm, humid conditions, but once they’ve germinated, seedlings are better in the fresh air. They are then less prone to attack by fungus or aphids. Fungus and aphids like warm, humid conditions and stagnant air.

Links to Other Useful Websites

The Weed Identification Chart in the Botany section includes pictures of weed seedlings and flowers.
The website Wildflowers in Bloom has pictures of seedlings (and flowers) and germination information about a lot of US native plants, indexed by their common name or Latin name.

Weed seed identification pictures

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      Amaranthus retroflexus

      For comprehensive information (e.g. nutrition, medicinal values, recipes, history, harvesting tips, etc.) please check out our Pigweed PDF magazine.

      Pigweed is an annual great leafy green vegetable that many gardeners love to hate as it tends to show up in gardens uninvited. This wild edible can be a beneficial weed as well as a companion plant serving as a trap for leaf miners and some other pests; also, it tends to shelter ground beetles (which prey upon insect pests) and breaks up hard soil for more delicate neighbouring plants. Because of its valuable nutrition, some farmers grow amaranth today.

      Distinguishing Features

      The stem of the pigweed is what makes this plant so distinctive. Stems are erect, and can grow anywhere from 10 cm – 2 m high, but usually 50 – 90 cm, simple or branched, lower part thick and smooth, upper part usually rough with dense short hair, greenish to slightly reddish but usually red near the roots.


      The flowers are small, green and crowded into coarse, bristly spikes at the top of the plant. Smaller spikes are located in the leaf axils below.


      The leaves are alternate on the stem, long-stalked, and range from dull green to shiny or reddish green. The leaf blade is oval to diamond-shaped, but is usually broader at the base. The margins of the leaves are smooth. The tips of the leaves are pointed or sometimes slightly notched.


      Pigweed can grow to 2 metres high.


      Pigweed is generally found in gardens, cultivated or abandoned fields.

      Edible Parts

      Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach, sautéed, etc. Pigweed has a mild flavour and is often mixed with stronger flavoured leaves. Fresh or dried pigweed leaves can be used to make tea. The seed is very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. The flavour is greatly improved by roasting the seed before grinding it. Pigweed seed can be ground into a powder and used as a cereal substitute, it can also be sprouted and added to salads. The seed is very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious.