common ragweed

(Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

Conservation Status
common ragweed
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Common ragweed 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.




12 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


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

Giant ragweed (Ambrosia 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).


Disturbed sites




August to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29, 30.








Common and widespread

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Helianthodae  
  Tribe Heliantheae (sunflowers and allies)  
  Subtribe Ambrosiinae (cockleburs, ragweeds, and wild quinines)  
  Genus Ambrosia (ragweeds)  

Subordinate Taxa






Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. artemisiifolia

Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. elatior

Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. paniculata

Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. trifida

Ambrosia elatior

Ambrosia glandulosa

Ambrosia maritima

Ambrosia monophylla

Ambrosia paniculata


Common Names


annual ragweed

common ragweed














A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded seed capsule, 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.

Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.






    common ragweed      


    common ragweed      



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



Visitor Videos

Share your video of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos
  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




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.



Afton State Park

Agassiz Dunes SNA (MN DNR)

Anna Gronseth Prairie

Antelope Valley SNA

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Badoura Jack Pine Woodland SNA

Baker Park Reserve

Banning State Park

Belgium Prairie

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blazing Star Prairie

Blazing Star Prairie Addition Preserve, South Unit

Blue Devil Valley SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Bonanza Prairie SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Bur Oak WMA

Butternut Valley Prairie SNA

Cambria WMA

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Cedar Rock SNA

Chamberlain Woods SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA

Chimney Rock SNA

Chippewa Prairie

Clear Lake SNA

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Clinton Prairie SNA

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crow Wing State Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Dry Sand WMA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Falls Creek SNA

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Felton Prairie SNA, Shrike Unit

Felton WMA

Flandrau State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Foxhome Prairie

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

Greenleaf Lake SRA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hardscrabble Woods / MG Tusler Sanctuary

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Hemlock Ravine SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Holthe Prairie SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Jensen Memorial WMA

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kettledrummer Prairie

Kilen Woods State Park

King’s and Queen’s Bluff SNA

Lake Alexander Woods SNA, South Unit

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve

Langhei Prairie SNA

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Lundblad Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

McKnight Prairie

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Chaska Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Monson Lake State Park

Morton Outcrops SNA

Mound Prairie SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, South Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Pavia Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Spieker Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Pankratz Memorial Prairie, North Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Pembina Trail Unit

Phelps Lake WMA

Pilot Knob

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Racine Prairie SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Rice Lake State Park

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

Ripley Esker SNA

Ritter Farm Park

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Rockville County Park

Roscoe Prairie SNA

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

St. Croix State Park

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Scenic State Park

Schaefer Prairie

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Seven Springs WMA

Sheepberry Fen

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Spring Prairie Preserve

Springbrook Nature Center

Staffanson Prairie

Swedes Forest SNA

Tiedemann WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Lakes SNA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Twin Valley WMA: North Unit

Uncas Dunes SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Valley View Park

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion River WMA

Western Prairie SNA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Wood-Rill SNA

Woodbury WMA

Yellow Bank Hills SNA







Last Updated:

© All rights reserved.

About Us

Privacy Policy

Contact Us