Carpetweed Mollugo verticillata
IDENTIFICATION – As the name implies, this annual weed is a low-spreader, never growing to more than about 4 in. tall. It likes hot weather, so the tiny seedlings don’t appear until the soil has warmed in spring. Tough, wiry stems with whorls of smooth bright-green leaves spread quickly, carpeting large areas in just a few weeks. Unlike some weeds, the stems don’t take root – all of the growth is supported by the main taproot.
From June to September carpetweed produces tiny, five-petaled white flowers where the leaves join the main stem. These flowers are followed by green capsules that contain little kidney-shaped orange seeds.
FAVORITE CONDITIONS – You’ll find most carpetweed springing up in full sun on disturbed soils. Occasionally it sprouts in lawns.
CONTROL – To prevent its spread, pull or hoe seedlings from the soil and add them to your compost pile before they have the chance to set seed. Spread a thick layer of mulch over the garden to keep additional seeds from germinating and weed seedlings from becoming firmly rooted in the soil.