Weed of the Week: Sicklepod

Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist
By Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist and Tom Eubank, Research/Extension Weed Scientist August 7, 2012 14:56

Weed of the Week:  Sicklepod

Written by:  Matthew McKinnon, Jason Bond, and Tom Eubank

Sicklepod

 Family:  Fabaceae
Scientific name:  Senna obtusifolia (L.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby
Synonyms:  coffeebean, coffeeweed, Arsenic weed, Java bean

Seedling sicklepod with rounded cotyledons and compound leaves

Sicklepod is an annual, herbaceous to semi-woody legume that has alternate, compound leaves composed of 4 to 6 opposite, egg-shaped leaflets.  Leaflets farthest from the stem are larger than those closest to the stem.  Cotyledons are rounded and usually have 3 to 5 prominent veins.  Plants are erect with smooth, branched stems, and plants may grow from 1 to 7 feet tall.  Sicklepod has bright, yellow flowers, and it produces seed in 3- to 8-inch, curved pods.  It is often confused with coffee senna; however, sicklepod’s leaves are rounded whereas coffee senna’s leaves are pointed.  It is commonly seen in cultivated fields and pastures.

Sicklepod is native to the American tropics, but it is commonly found throughout the southeastern United States.  Sicklepod can be problematic in all Mississippi row crops; however, its economic importance has lessened since commercialization of Roundup Ready cropping systems.  It is competitive with row crops during their seedling stages, so the first few weeks after planting are critical for control.

Bryson, C.T. and M.S. DeFelice. 2009. Weeds of the South. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. pp. 141.

Compound leaf of sickepod

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Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist
By Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist and Tom Eubank, Research/Extension Weed Scientist August 7, 2012 14:56
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1 Comment

  1. Ed July 28, 05:07

    My sister in South Carolina asked me to research this weed, as it is a problem in a sunflower patch there. I have never seen it on my farm in Ohio.

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