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Hundreds of Weeds Identified in Free ‘Weeds of the West’ Guide

May 18, 2016

Pigweed, dogbane and horsetail are among plants featured in the free, downloadable “Weeds of the West,” a guide to more than 350 species found around the home, farm and ranch.

The guide, available as a pdf or ePub at, aids in identifying species that compete with native plants, horticultural and agricultural crops or are toxic to livestock and people.

Entries include descriptions, habitats and characteristics for weeds growing in all Western states, including Hawaii. More than 1,000 photographs show early growth stages and mature plants, plus important features for identification.

Abundance and ability to reproduce, compete and spread rapidly often characterize weeds. According to the editors, the “weed” label does not mean a plant is always undesirable or cannot be beneficial under certain circumstances.

They give, as examples, species undesirable on grasslands for livestock as being valuable wildlife forage or habitat elsewhere. Some species poisonous to livestock are valued as ornamentals, and some nearly universally unappreciated weeds may help reduce soil erosion on disturbed sites.

Published by the Western Society of Weed Science, Cooperative Extension of the United States and the University of Wyoming, “Weeds of the West” is one of more than 500 guides and how-to videos available from UW Extension (see covering livestock, wildlife and Wyoming open spaces, plus gardening, estate planning, energy planning and other topics. 

For more on weeds, see “Wyoming Weed Watchlist,” “Cheatgrass Management Handbook” and “Weed Control in Gardens and Lawn.”

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