Weed or Flower? Identifying Weeds in Ohio

No one wants weeds and unwelcome plants taking on their lawn, gardens, and beds. However, for Ohio homeowners, identifying weeds from healthy, thriving flowers can be tough. Don’t let Ohio’s many weeds rob your lawn and gardens of its beauty. Brush up on some of our state’s common types of weeds to quickly identify and control even the most deceiving yard pests.

Here are 8 Common Weeds in Ohio:

Wild Violets

Don’t let the bright purple blooms fool you; wild violets are perennial weeds that need to go. Beyond the small lavender petals, look for heart-shaped leaves to know if, in fact, your property is home to this perpetual weed.


With its long leaves and sharp, spiky spines, thistle has an almost cactus-like appearance to it. As a general rule of thumb: never keep something on your lawn that may break the skin if you step on it barefoot. Glove up and carefully remove these lawn weeds anywhere you find them.  


Bittercress, or hair bittercress as it’s sometimes known, is an annual winter weed that hails from the mustard family. Weed identification for this one is made easy with its little white blooms, prickly seed capsules, and centralized stems.

Buckhorn Plantain

With its unusual leaf shape and rosette blooms, it’s easy to mistake buckhorn plantain as something you may actually want in your yard. In fact, it’s not. Look for long, green, slender leaves that are approximately 3-10 inches long, but less than 1-inch wide. You may also notice seed capsules ranging from 1-3 inches long on the plant as well.


Nutsedge isn’t often mistaken for a flower; however, it’s shape, color, and texture often leads people to believe it’s a type of grass. This perennial growth is in the sedge family making it one of the most difficult weeds to control. If left untreated, then nutsedge develops into dense colonies, attacking any healthy plants in its path.


Chickweed is one of the many common weeds found in Ohio. It’s marked by oval-shaped leaves that curl as the plant matures. This annual weed also touts thin stems that sprout tiny white flowers in the spring and summer months. Every chickweed flower has five petals; however, deep notching on the blossoms makes it look like there are actually ten petals on every bloom.


Speedwell presents an attractive front but has a bad attitude. This annual creeping weed can quickly run rampant throughout a lawn, making it extremely difficult to control once it’s gotten a foothold in the soil. Bright green leaves with scalloped edges also distinguishes speedwell from other plants. It also flaunts small, light blue flowers when it sprouts.  


The most distinguishing feature of this perennial weed? Heart-shaped leaves that seem to fold in the middle. In addition to its unique leaflets, Oxalis also is marked by small yellow flowers.