Did you find a plant with yellow flowers around your property and can’t identify it? You could be dealing with a weed. So, how can you identify it so you can choose the proper eradication technique?
While weed plants with yellow flowers might look appealing and beneficial (pollination, medicinal properties, etc.), they can be very distractive if they sprout your gardens and lawns.
In addition, some of these weeds can be very aggressive, easily overwhelming other plants on your lawn. Others are resilient and can keep returning after every eradication attempt, making them very frustrating.
Identifying weeds with yellow flowers is the first step to efficiently eradicating these unwanted plants. Below, we have compiled a list of the most common 20 weeds with yellow flowers and their unique characteristics.
Top 20 common weeds with yellow flowers
Below are some of the most common weeds with yellow flowers and how to identify them:
1. Yellow sorrel
Yellow sorrel (Oxalis stricta) is a common weed in North America, Europe, and Asia. It goes by several local names, such as sourgrass, sheep weed, lemon clover, and prickle plant.
The plant commonly attacks gardens, lawns, and fields. It is a very invasive species that spread through runners and seeds (germinating once they touch the soil).
Yellow sorrel is very similar to clover, with its leaves (trifoliate) originating from a single point on the stem. These leaves are bright green, with the stem, branches, and leaf stalks having fine hairs. On top of that, it produces small yellow flowers (five petals), which bloom from spring to fall.
You can get rid of yellow sorrel by pulling the plant from the ground, but you should ensure you get the entire root system; else, it will sprout back. You can also eradicate it using systemic herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup).
2. Creeping cinquefoil
Creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) is a flowering plant found in North Africa, Europe, and North America (Ontario, Quebec, Alabama, Florida, and Texas).
It commonly grows on roadsides, grasslands, and borders but can easily invade lawns, gardens, and yards. Its attractive sight can fool you, but it is a highly invasive weed plant that spreads quickly and aggressively using quick-rooting runners.
You can identify creeping cinquefoil by segmented, jagged, 5-lobbed green leaves, similar to the strawberry plant.
The plant grows from the main taproot, with long runners (blackish) in all directions, reaching up to one foot. The plant also has little yellow flowers (five-petalled), which bloom around June to September.
You can eradicate creeping cinquefoil by pulling it from the ground or other mechanical means such as raking. However, chemical weeds (selective or systemic, depending on where it is growing) are the best option to control them completely.
Dandelion is one of the most common yellow-flowered weeds. It is a perennial plant native to Eurasia, but a common sight in North America, South America, Oceania, and India.
Some people consider it a beneficial plant due to its high nutritional benefit – it has lots of vitamins and minerals, and the flowers are even used to make wine. However, it is a highly invasive species that spread aggressively through seeding.
It also forms deep root systems, making it hard to eradicate. The plant usually grows in crop fields, orchards, lawns and turf, gardens, yards, and roadsides.
Dandelion has distinct basal leaves that have toothed edges. The leaves are dark green and produce a milky sap.
The plant has long, hollow stems on which yellow flowers bloom at the top in clusters, forming a flower head. Dandelion also produces a seed head, like a puffball, from where the wind scatters seeds.
Due to their deep-rooted system, removing dandelions by hand or with gardening tools is difficult. Therefore, herbicides are the most effective eradication technique, especially systemic weed killers such as Roundup.
4. Common evening primrose
Common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), or evening star, is a flowering plant native to the North American region. It commonly grows in landscapes (newly established), nurseries and seed beds, and crop fields but can occasionally invade lawns.
Common evening primrose is considered highly beneficial, with edible roots and shoots, and even used to produce evening primrose medicinal oil. However, it is highly invasive, as it has copious amounts of seeds, which easily spread and germinate.
You can identify common evening primrose with its narrow, lance-shaped leaves with smooth margins and red veins. The leaves grow in a rosette pattern in the first year before sprouting spirally from the stem as the plant matures.
Common evening primrose also has large, four-petalled, trumpet-shaped yellow flowers, which form a loose pattern on the stem.
You can eradicate common evening primrose through mechanical means – pulling by hands or digging tools from the ground. In case of widespread infestation, you can spot-treat with systemic herbicides such as glyphosate.
5. Golden clover
Golden Clover (Trifolium aureum) is a flowering plant native to Eurasia but widespread in other parts of the world, such as North America. It is one of the weeds with yellow flowers you are likely to find on your lawn. You can also see it in the fields, woodlands, roadsides, etc.
Golden clover produces compound leaves (in threes), which grow at the end of a short stalk. They are finely toothed from the tip of the leave but have a fine margin as you near the base. The plant’s stems are smooth but can occasionally have fine flattened hairs.
Golden clover also blooms a round to oval flower head, which feature small yellow flowers that turn creamy to rusty brown as the plant nears the seeding stage.
You can control golden clovers by pulling the weeds by hand from the ground. You can also use herbicides such as glyphosate if you prefer chemical control.
6. Birdsfoot trefoil
Birdsfoot trefoil is a perennial herbaceous native to Eurasia and North Africa but common around several regions worldwide. The plant can grow in diverse habitats, from lawns to crop fields, roadsides, woodlands, etc.
It is sometimes cultivated for forage and soil erosion control. However, it is an aggressive species that spreads fast and forms a dense mat, choking out other vegetation.
Birdsfoot trefoil is a low-growing plant with semi-erect stems (sometimes lying on the ground). It produces five leaflets – three compound leaflets similar to clover and two stalkless leaflets at the base of a stem.
It also has small, pea-like yellow flowers, which form a cluster pattern at the top of the stem. You can eradicate the weed plant through broadleaf herbicides such as 2-4-D, triclopyr, and dicamba.
7. Black-eyed susan
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a wildflower plant native to North America. It commonly grows in fields, open woodlands, roadsides, and abandoned areas.
Some people do not consider the plant a weed due to its appeal. It is even used as a symbol for the University of Southern Mississippi and Maryland. However, the plant is tolerant to harsh conditions and self-seeding and thus can spread fast if not controlled.
Black-eyed Susan is a tall growing plant that can reach up to 100 cm. It produces long, ovate leaves that are winged, deeply veined, and coarse, which grow irregularly along the stalk.
However, its most unique feature is the flower; it has singular flowerheads positioned at the top of the stalks. The flower heads have a prominent black to dark-brown cone at the centre, with bright yellow petals (like rays of the sun) surrounding them.
You can control the growth of black-eyed Susan by cutting the plant down to the ground. Immediately after cutting, you should treat the roots with a systemic herbicide to kill the plant.
8. Common ragwort
Common ragwort (Jacobaea Vulgaris) is a wildflower found in Europe, Asia, North America, and other parts of the world. It is known by several local names such as ragwort, stinking willie, tansy ragwort, etc.
It can be a beneficial plant, especially in attracting butterflies. However, it is highly invasive (spreading prolifically through seeds) and can be poisonous to humans and animals.
Common ragwort is one of the several tall weeds with yellow flowers you will likely come across. It has upright growing stems, reaching up to one meter in height. It also produces large, pinnately lobed leaves, which produce a stinking smell.
The plant also has singular flower heads perched at the top of the stalk, with several small, bright yellow petals forming a cluster.
You can eradicate common ragwort by pulling the plant from the ground (before it seeds) and burning it or disposing of it inside a tightly sealed plastic bag.
In case of widespread infestation, you can deploy chemical herbicides.
9. Creeping buttercup
Creeping buttercup is a common weed with yellow flowers, which grows in gardens, woodlands, borders, and other areas with wet soil. It is an attractive plant but highly invasive due to its fast-spreading runners.
Creeping buttercup produces hairy leaves divided into three lobes at the top of the plant’s stalk. It also has bright yellow flowers with five to seven petals. You can also distinguish the plant by how it spreads on the ground through runners.
You can eliminate creeping buttercup by pulling it from the ground. However, if the weed is well established, you might need chemical herbicides to eradicate it effectively.
10. Common sow thistle
The common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia but widespread in North America. It usually grows in crop fields and other disturbed areas.
The plant is pretty beneficial – forage for animals, pollination, and even cuisine (leaves are edible). However, it is highly invasive and can lower crop production on agricultural land.
Common sow thistle has smooth, erect thick stems, which produce a milky sap when cut. Its leaves are a bluish-green, with a smooth surface and lightly toothed margin.
During flower season, it blooms singular flowerheads (very similar to those of dandelions), with bright yellow petals forming a cluster at the tip of the stem. You can control the plant through chemical herbicides such as 2,4-D.
11. Lesser celandine
Lesser celandine (Ficaria Verna) is a low-growing flowering plant in the buttercup family. It is native to Europe and Asia but also widespread in North America.
It is sometimes grown as an ornamental plant but is highly invasive and can overcrowd other vegetation. It usually grows in gardens, lawns, roadsides, fields, and other natural areas.
Lesser celandine is a low-growing plant that forms a mat on the ground. It has relatively long stalks, which grow in clusters of about four to ten stems. It also produces glossy-green heart-shaped leaves and small, bright yellow flowers that bloom in spring.
Lesser celandine is very hard to control once it establishes itself. You can try to remove the plant from the ground before it flowers – by digging by hand or shovel. However, systemic herbicides such as glyphosate are the most effective eradication.
12. Common purslane
Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea), also known as little hogweed, is an annual plant widespread across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
It grows in various habitats, from landscapes to gardens, lawns, and crop fields. Some people consider it beneficial because its leaves are edible – either cooked or eaten raw. However, it is fast-spreading and easily overwhelms other vegetation, such as in crop fields.
Common purslane has smooth, glossy, and fleshy-appearing green leaves with red margins. The leaves, which form a teardrop shape, are attached to the stems without a stalk and form clusters of four leaflets at the top.
The stems grow close to the ground, forming a dense mat. The plant also produces yellow flowers (either individually or in clusters), which bloom from May to September.
You can control common purslane by pulling it from the ground and disposing of it in sealed bags. You can also use cultural control means such as mulching or solarization.
You can consider herbicides such as benefin, dithiopyr, and trifluralin if you prefer chemical control.
13. Cypress spurge
Cyprus spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias) is a flowering plant with yellow flowers native to Europe. However, it was introduced to the North American region as an ornamental plant, where it has become widespread.
It commonly grows in grasslands, pastures, meadows, roadsides, and gardens. It is also found in graveyards, the nickname graveyard moss or weed.
Cypress spurge is a relatively low-growing plant, reaching 20 to 40 cm in height. It produces several branched stems, which are covered with narrow green leaves – forming cypress-like foliage.
It also produces small, inconspicuous yellowish-green flowers, which bloom at the end of the stems.
Cypress spurge is fast-growing and spreads through roots and seeds, thus making it hard to control once established. It is also poisonous to animals.
You can try to eradicate it by pulling it from the ground. However, chemical treatment using herbicides such as glyphosate is the most effective solution.
14. Canada goldenrod
Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) is a herbaceous plant native to Canada and USA. It grows in moist to dry fields, swamp areas, clearings, forest edges, orchards, along roadsides, streams, ponds, cultivated fields, and gardens.
It is very beneficial as it provides forage for livestock and attracts insects with its pollen and nectar. However, it is invasive, spreading aggressively through seeds and rhizomes.
Canada goldenrod is a tall growing plant, reaching up to six feet. It has branching stems from where lanceolate (sometimes broadly linear) leaves grow alternatingly. The leaves are hairy on the underside and are prominently toothed on the edges.
The plant also produces branching flowerheads consisting of several bright yellow clustered flowers, forming a pyramid pattern.
You can control the Canada goldenrod by cutting the plant down to the ground before it produces seeds. However, chemical herbicides, such as broadleaf weed killers, are the best control mechanism.
Oxalis, also known as wood sorrels, are small weeds with yellow flowers native to North America. They usually grow on lawns, garden areas, and sunny to shady landscapes. They are considered by some people to be ornamental but are very aggressive and can suffocate other plants.
Oxalis weeds have smooth, trifoliate, heart-shaped leaves, which are green in colour (sometimes purplish or brownish-red).
The leaves tend to fold up at night (or under stress, for example, direct sunlight) before opening up in the morning. The plant also produces small yellow flowers with a cup-like shape, which bloom around summer and fall.
You can control oxalis by mulching your garden (prevention) or pulling them from the ground when they sprout. You can also use chemical control (broadleaf herbicides) to eradicate them.
Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) is an annual broadleaf plant native to Southern Asia. It was introduced into the North American region as a potential fibre crop, only to turn into a weed plant affecting several crops. It usually grows in crop fields, nurseries, gardens, orchards, roadsides, and disturbed land.
Velvetleaf is an upright-growing plant that can reach up to eight feet. It has a stout, hairy stem, on which large, round to heart-shaped leaves emerge in an alternating pattern.
The leaves are also hairy, with a velvety feel, hence the name. In summer, the plant produces yellow flowers with five petals, which can be found in clusters or growing singularly.
You can control the velvetleaf plant by pulling it from the ground. Depending on the growing season, you can also kill the weed with pre- and post-emergent herbicides.
St John’s-Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a flowering plant native to Eurasia but widespread in North America, South America, Africa, and Australia.
It has been used in folk medicine for centuries and cultivated commercially. However, it has a strong tap root system with creeping rhizomes, which allows it to spread aggressively.
St. John’s-Wort plant has dark green, oblong-shaped leaves with small dark dots. The leaves are stalkless and attach to the stem in an alternating pattern. The plant also produces bright yellow flowers (five petals), which grow from the tip of the stem.
You can control the St. John’s-Wort plant by removing it from the ground by hand before it seeds. You should ensure you dig up the entire root system to prevent it from sprouting. However, if the invasion is widespread, you should use broad-spectrum herbicides such as glyphosate and 2,4-D.
Butterweed (Packera Glabella) is a weed plant found in North America’s central and southeastern regions. It usually grows in pastures, meadows, waste areas, and other disturbed areas. It produces a large number of seeds and thus usually grows in clusters.
The Butterweed plant has simple, lanceolate-shaped leaves with smooth margins. They are dark green to greenish-yellow, with the underside being covered with fine hairs. The plant also blooms with yellow, daisy-like flowers, which grow in clusters at the top of the stem.
The deep-rooted tap root system of the butterweed plant makes pulling them from the ground by hard almost impossible. Therefore, the best solution is to spray with systemic herbicides such as glyphosate when the plant is actively growing.
19. Marsh yellowcress
Marsh yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) is a flowering plant part of the mustard family. It is native to Eurasia and North America and usually grows in ponds, small rivers, marshy fields, ditches, and poorly drained crop fields.
Marsh yellowcress leaves start growing in a basal rosette pattern and are often oblong-shaped. As the plant matures, the leaves become deeply lobbed and grow from the stem in an alternating pattern.
Each leaflet has several pairs of irregularly toothed leaflets. The plant also produces flowers, which develop at the tip of the stems or the leaf axils. The flowers are small, yellow, and consist of four petals.
You can remove marsh yellowcress plants from the ground by hand as long as you remove the entire root system to keep it from sprouting. You can also use systemic herbicides to eradicate the infestation completely.
Skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea) is a flowering plant native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia but commonly found in several temperate regions worldwide.
It is hardy, with a deep tap root system, which allows it to survive harsh environments and spread. It can also easily invade cultivated fields, landscapes, flower beds, and even lawns.
Skeletonweed is a tall growing plant, reaching up to 5 feet in height (with its taproot growing up to 7 feet deep). When sprouting, the leaves form a basal rosette pattern, which is deeply toothed, with the lobes bending backwards.
However, as the plant matures, it produces branching stems with very few leaves. However, it produces several small, bright yellow flowers, which form clusters in singular or grouped flowerheads.
Due to how deep the roots of the Skeletonweed plant grow, mechanical removal is impossible.
Instead, the best way to eradicate the weed is by applying systemic herbicides such as dicamba, 2,4-D, glyphosate, and others. You might need several applications of herbicides to kill the plant completely.
Are you looking to identify weeds with yellow flowers? You can come across several types of weeds that bloom yellow flowers, whether in your lawn, garden, crop fields, or other areas near your property.
The above are some of the most common weeds you need to be aware of. Despite some of these weeds appearing beneficial, they are quite invasive and can be hard to control if left unchecked.
Fortunately, with the above information, you can easily identify them and choose the best solution for eradication.
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Carla is a student pursuing a B.S in Agricultural Systems Technology. With a passion for landscaping for over 4 years, Carla loves plants. She has previously contributed to several other sites in the space before joining InsightWeeds.