Iowa State University


leftbar.JPG (7146 bytes) rightbar.jpg (2335 bytes)

Weed identification resources

blueline.jpg (1822 bytes)

Updated Feb 5, 2014


Weed identification is a constant challenge for many of us. The best first step to plant ID is to have the appropriate reference materials on hand. Here are those that we find of most help in identifying weed samples.


Weeds of the midwestern United States and central Canada. Information and photos of more than 350 of the most troublesome weeds and invasive plants in the region. It is the newest of the weed ID books for the region, published in 2010. Available through for approximately $30.

Weeds of the Great Plains. Formally known as Weeds of Nebraska and the Greate Plains, this is the standard ID reference for most people in the western Corn Belt. Excellent color photos and black and white line drawings of 266 species (and descriptions of an additional 125 species) on nearly 600 pages in a hardbound book. Available from the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, P.O. Box 94756, Lincoln, NE 69509. $25.00 (includes shipping), or drive to Lincoln and pick it up for $22.50.

Weeds of the Northeast.  A weed identification book from Cornell University Press.  This is an excellent identification resource that contains usefull tables of similar plant species, fold-out identification keys, and notations of unusual identification characteristics.  All this in addition to 416 pages of descriptions of 299 common weed species.  While focusing on areas bounded by Canada, Virginia, and west to Wisconsin, this is an excellent resource for many plants found in the central to western corn belt.  Available from for approximately $30.

Weeds of the West. A new book from the Western Weed Science Society contains excellent color photographs of nearly 300 species of weeds. Each species is presented with three color pictures, and an easy to read narrative gives the descriptions, habitats and characteristics of each weed. The title is "Weeds of the West" and thus it is no surprise that less than half of the weeds are common in Iowa. Available via for approximatelty $30.



Prepared by Bob Hartzler, extension weed management specialist, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University

For more information contact:
ISU Extension Agronomy
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Voice: (515) 294-1923
Fax: (515) 294-9985
Submit questions or comments here.  

Copyright 1996-2006, Iowa State University, all rights reserved  

Common chemical and trade names are used in this publication. The use of trade names is for clarity by the reader. Inclusion of a trade name does not imply endorsement of that particular brand of herbicide and exclusion does not imply nonapproval.