Kochia scoparia

Scientific Name Kochia scoparia (L.) Roth
Common Names English: Summer cypress, Kochia, Mexican fireweed; German: Sommerzypresse; French: Kochia faux-cyprès; Spanish: Pinillo, Ciprés de verano, Morenita, Falso ciprés
Description Annual weed with taproot, reproducing by seeds. The stem is erect, spreading, with ascending branches from a central stem. Mature plants grow round and bushy.

Descriptions

Characteristic Features

Pyramidal growth form, early stages grow in rosette.

Young Plant

Leaves narrow and lance shaped. Young plants appear as a rosette.

Cotyledons

Rather thick, three to four times as long as broad. Upper surfaces dull green and magenta on the underside.

Stems

Erect, ramified, up to 30-150 cm (11.81 - 59.05 inch) high. Main stem and branches covered with villous hairs.

Leaves

The alternate, simple leaves are pubescent to nearly glabrous, one to two inches long, lanceolate to linear with hairy margins, and without petioles.

Propagatio Organs

Flowers

Small, greenish, inconspicuous at the end of branches.

Flowering Period

Summer - early autumn.

Fruit

Star-shaped.

Seeds

Brown flattened seeds, grooved on each side.

Viability Of Seeds

1 year.

Propagation

By seeds. 200-20,000 seeds/plant.

Occurrence

Habitat

K. scoparia is a highly adaptable weed and invades dry pastures, rangelands and cropland, ditch banks, wastelands and cultivated fields. It is very drought tolerant and can spread rapidly in these conditions.

Soil

Wide tolerance of soil types, alkaline soils as well as salty soils.

Agricultural Importance

Kochia scoparia is a noxious, invasive, annual weed and reduces crop yield due to effective competition for light, nutrients, and soil moisture. Dead plants break off at the base and are blown by the wind as tumble weeds. The plants can accumulate high concentrations of nitrate. Also photosensitivity in livestock was reported; the pollen causes hay fever.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

Early tillage in spring usually provides good control of Kochia seedlings. Mowing or slashing the plants before flowering is effective in reducing seed production.

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