I.D. This Weed Please

This very fast growing and spreading weed has popped up in my orchard.

It grows VERY quickly forming a thick mat.

It looks like it could keep other taller and broadleaf weeds from getting a foothold.

Can anyone recognize this and/or offer any suggestions.



looks like purslane or Hogweed

Creeping spurge, produces billions of seeds and grows anywhere. If we could eat it, it would feed the world.

Portulaca is more succulent-like. My mother-in-law cooks Portulaca like spinach.



Don’t think this is it. The stuff really hugs the ground and stays ony one leaf thickness. It just spreads out almost like its painted on.


This is what it looks like it is.

It especially thrives in dry weather amd that is exactly what we have had here.


I have had this plant in some of my flower beds and it is hard to get rid of because of all the seed it makes. It spreads out and only gets about 1/2 to 1" high. I have no idea what its name is but now you have me wondering about it choking out other weeds.

Spurge, not purslane.


Yes, spotted spurge - a lot less trouble than purslane

It has a taproot and doesn’t resprout the way purslane does

Yup, Spotted Spurge. My bane. This damned stuff grows EVERYWHERE in S. California. It’s probably our #1 weed pest. I pull, and pull, and pull, and spray and spray and spray. It sets seed extremely quickly, and the tap root is designed to break off at the crown, so it can regenerate itself. Hate it.

Patty S.

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Add me to the list of spurge haters. Pull them out on first sight, do not wait.

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According to the book When Weeds Talk, Spotted Spurge tells some things about the soil. Likely low in Ca, very low in P2O5, very high in K2O, high in Mg, supports anerobic bacteria, low humus and possibly sandy. Prostate Spurge is a little dif but kinda same pattern of soil composition.
Just sayin’

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My soil is not low in Ca, in fact, it’s high in Ca. Spurge grows like nobody’s business here.


Spurge and purslane show up together at the same time - high summer weeds

You can’t make assumptions about soil composition when it comes to weeds around here. Wind, leaf blowers and birds keep weed seeds coming. Weeds will pop up as often in containers as they do in the garden beds. A good layer of mulch makes weed pulling much easier.


The question is…

Is it a mistake to let it grow to become a groundcover suppressing the other weeds that grow thigh high.


For us here in water-rare S. California, yes. Weeds compete with my plants I want growing, for water and nutrients. So, for us, it’s better to keep our yards, garden, orchard weed-free, and instead mulch as mrclint has mentioned. That does two great things for us - retain moisture and suppress competing weeds. I might have to apply a little more fertilizer now and then, to provide sufficient N, but worth the extra effort. And mrclint is right - I even pull this awful weed out of my container plants. The winds and birds bring the weed seeds up into my containers. Hate this stuff.


Well certainly one weed does not define a soil’s composition. But if there are several weeds that thrive under the same conditions, then you can triangulate what imbalances your soil may have. Soil tests are expensive. AND, putting too much of a nutrient on the soil can imbalance it as much as under applying a nutrient because ratios are also important. Calcium may not be the main issue, but rather insufficient phosphate and too much potassium (common for wood chip mulch). For me this is good to know. I have changed the distribution of certain weeds in my yard by applying the called for remediants.

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UMass does a fairly good test for $15. Add $6 if you want to know soil organic matter percentage. I’ve used them and been happy with the results.


Thanks Scott, looks comprehensive. My problem is that one test would likely not be representative of the many growing areas I have, and combining the samples into one may provide me info that I can’t use. The only ‘low acid’ soil extraction (LaMotte) that I have found is $25/sample. (Low acid extraction mimics the acids secreted by plant roots to absorb minerals. So the form that the mineral is in is as important as the amount of it in the sample. This may be a small dif…or not…don’t know but best to be conservative)

I agree with the concept because mullein grows in poor soil, lambs quarter grows in soils with heavy nutrients etc. . It’s also true morning glory and binder weed don’t discriminate by soil types. Some weeds can certainly indicate soil conditions.

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