En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 06, 2012

From: Harwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Problem Plants
Title: Identity of yellow-flowered plant with stickers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have yellow flowered plant taking over my lawn. I used weed killers last year and it has spread this year and still spreading. It has small burs (not as hard as a regular sticker bur but will stick in your foot or hand. What is it and how do I get rid of it?

ANSWER:

The best possibility for your weed, I think, is one of the burclovers.   One with particularly prickly seeds is Medicago polymorpha [syn. = Medicago hispida] (California burclover). It was introduced from Europe and is commonly used as a forage or cover crop for livestock.  It also is a nitrogen fixer that enhances nitrogen availability in the soil.  However, even though sheep eat it, the prickly seeds tend to get caught in the sheep's wool and lower the value of the wool.  It is considered invasive in many places as it spreads through lawns and other unwanted areas.  You can see on the general distribution map from the USDA Plants Database that it occurs over most of North America.  Although it is not shown as occurring in Gonzales County on the Texas County Distribution map, it is shown as occurring in counties surrounding Gonzales County.  You can read from Dr. Kaae-Online an extensive article on various methods to control it that are based on the University of California Online IPM Programs.  As you know, it isn't easy to control and you will need to use a combination of methods and be persistent.

Another possibility for your plant is Tribulus terrestris (Puncture vine), a native of temperate and tropical areas of the Old World.  However, its seeds are quite formidable and have been known to puncture tires so I doubt that this is your weed.

If neither of these plants is your problem plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
August 07, 2008 - I have discovered a vine growing in my boysenberry patch, perhaps spread by birds, but I can't find it in any books. It has 5 smooth leaves with burgundy, pinkish racemes, much like snap dragon flow...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 06, 2011 - I'm trying to figure out the name of a plant/shrub purchased a couple years ago. It was a shrub (about medium sized) with yellow blooms that smelled like lemon. I don't think it was lemon balm or le...
view the full question and answer

Need help identifying a plant with lupine-like leaves in La Grange Park, IL
May 20, 2010 - I encountered a plant on a level area just above a creek bed (moist soil, sun to partial sun) at one of the three largest grasslands in Illinois. The specific site looked like it may have been a burn ...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at the Wildflower Center from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Wildflower Center today and loved the green plants with delicate white flowers that were in both clay pots in front of the auditorium. Please let me know the name of the plants.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 30, 2008 - I was just in Alabama this weekend and all alongside the road-side were these georgeous pink flowers. I finally stopped to pick one and thet are even prettier up close! The stem is smooth and leafle...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center