common ragweed

(Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

common ragweed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland




Common and widespread


Disturbed sites


August to September

Flower Color



12 to 40



This is a 12 to 40, usually 12 to 24 tall, erect, annual forb that rises from a taproot.

The stems are erect, bushy, frequently branched at least above the middle, and hairy.

Leaves are opposite near the base, alternate above. They are deeply cut into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib but not cut to the midrib. The lobes are themselves deeply cut into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib but not cut to the midrib (the lobes are pinnatifid, the leaves are bipinnatifid). The leaves are 1 to 3½ long, usually no longer than 2, and ¾ to 2 wide, usually no wider than 1. They are wider at the base than at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are gland-dotted and, on younger leaves, covered with stiff hairs that are either straight or appressed. Mature leaves are relatively hairless. The leaves are on stalks that can be 1 to 2 long, but are usually no more than 1 long.

There are separate male and female flowers, both borne on the same plant. Male flowers are borne in spike-like inflorescences at the ends of stems and branches. The spikes are up to 4 long with 12 to 20 or more flower heads. The heads are green, bead-like, and about in diameter. They hang downward at the end of short stalks. Female flowers appear singly from upper leaf axles. Both flowers are rayless.

The fruit is an achene without tufts of hair.


Annual bursage (Ambrosia acanthicarpa) leaves are covered with white to gray, short, bristly hairs.

Giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida var. trifida) is a much taller plant. Its leaves are palmately lobed.

Lance-leaved ragweed (Ambrosia bidenta) leaves, as the latin name suggests, have two teeth, one on each side of the leaf.

Western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya) leaves are pinnatifid (once cut), not bipinnatifid (twice cut).

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28.





Asteraceae (aster)









Heliantheae (sunflower)





Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. artemisiifolia

Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. elatior

Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. paniculata

Ambrosia elatior

Ambrosia glandulosa

Ambrosia maritima

Ambrosia monophylla

Ambrosia paniculata


annual ragweed

common ragweed











A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



The release of a chemical toxin by one plant to inhibit the growth or germination of nearby competing plants.



The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



Twice pinnatifid.


Palmately Lobed

Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.



Deeply cut, more than half way to the midrib but not to the midrib, into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib; the lobes do not form separate leaflets.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.


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  common ragweed    





  Ambrosia artemisiifolia elatior COMMON RAGWEED
Frank Mayfield
  Ambrosia artemisiifolia elatior COMMON RAGWEED  




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  Weed ID Ragweed

Published on Oct 26, 2012

Common name: Common Ragweed

Scientific name: Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.

Problems: yield losses, pollen causing allergies, resistance to Glyphosate

Key plant identifiers: leaves are deeply divided, heavily lobed, similar to a carrot leaf. The stem is hairy. Seeds are diamond shaped and up to 62,000 seeds may be produced.

Lifecycle: Annual

Propagation: Seed

Not to be confused with: Canada Goldenrod. This confusion occurs because they flower at the same time and people think that Canada Goldenrod is the cause of their allergies.

Location: Disturbed soils, found in Southern Ontario and North America other than Alaska, Yukon and Nunavut.

Control: Most broadleaf herbicides. But resistance has been seen with Round-up so other strategies may be required such as a future soybean resistant to Dicamba.

  Common Ragweed

Published on Aug 5, 2012

ID and control of common ragweed





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