Weeds with white flowers are a common problem that can affect your grass and garden. While beautiful and potentially harmless, a white flowering weed can grow quickly in your lawn by stealing water and nutrients from other desirable plants. These white weeds can be hardy and aggressive, making the pesky plants a challenge to get rid of.
Whether you have tall weeds that stand out or tiny flowering kinds found in grass, you’ll need to decide if these plants are worth keeping around.
To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the most common weeds with white flowers. From small to tall, explore these white flowering weeds to identify and remove the unwanted ones from your lawn.
What Are White Flowering Weeds?
The most common white flower weeds are the white clover, chickweed, hairy bittercress, daisy, wild carrot, dandelion, pearlwort and wild violet. These white weeds are resilient and aggressive plants that can grow quickly in grass and take over your garden. Some weeds with white flowers are small and short, while others can grow to be tall and large, meaning you’ll need to learn about the different types to identify these hardy plants.
While there are several kinds, these flowering weeds can become invasive and start to absorb the water and nutrients needed for other plants to grow. If you want to maintain a healthy lawn, you’ll want to remove these flowering weeds using safe and simple methods.
Common Weeds with White Flowers
White clover is a low-growing herbaceous perennial plant with a sweet vanilla scent. Its fragrant aroma attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, who feed on the pollen and nectar. This leguminous plant is also a critical food source for foraging animals and provides necessary nutrition for livestock and wildlife alike.
While white clover has many ecological benefits, it can also be harmful in certain contexts. This tricky and tenacious plant spreads quickly and is difficult to eliminate once it has established itself as part of your landscaping. In many states, white clover is classified as an invasive species.
White clover is easily identifiable by its rounded flower heads which are speckled with white tubular florets. They are also notable for their distinctive clusters of three leaflets that form a classic shamrock shape.
Chickweed is a hardy weed with small white flowers that can grow fast in cool and moist environments. This adaptive plant with dainty petals can be classified as an annual or a perennial depending on its surrounding climate. For centuries, chickweed has been a popular folk medicine remedy that is used to treat everything from itchy skin to arthritis, to anemia. While chickweed is most often consumed by animals including chickens, sheep, and wild birds, it is also edible and nutritious enough for humans to eat.
With its shiny leaves and dainty star-shaped flowers, chickweed is quite pleasing to the eye but the thick, thatchy weed competes for resources to the detriment of other plants and can be a hotbed for pests and diseases. Chickweed infestations can have an especially dire impact on important crops including barley, oats, and wheat.
Hairy bittercress is a broadleaf plant species that is one of the first weeds to begin popping up in early spring each year. This weed can make a second appearance in the fall in some climates, so it’s important to be on the lookout for the low-growing rosettes all year round. Despite its wholly unappetizing name, hairy bittercress is an edible plant that is favored by foraging food enthusiasts. Often used in microgreen salads, hairy bittercress has tender leaves with a mild, peppery flavor.
What makes hairy bittercress problematic is its remarkable reproductive capabilities. When this plant matures, its pods burst open explosively, scattering the seeds far and wide. This is a characteristic that is common to the mustard family, of which hairy bittercress is a member.
The daisy is a cute weed with white flowers and a yellow pom center that can find in your yard between late spring and early fall. The term “daisy” can be used to describe several flowering plants belonging to the Asteraceae family. While there are as many as 20,000 species, the most iconic daisy is the Bellis perennis, which is instantly recognizable by its bright yellow floral disc surrounded by longer white outer petals. This flower is known by several names, including the common daisy, lawn daisy, and English daisy.
There’s an ongoing debate about whether daisies should be described as a flower or a weed. As a general rule, a daisy can be considered a flower when it’s growing in a place where you’d like, and a weed when propagating somewhere that it’s not wanted. Some invasive species can threaten native flowers and should be avoided at all costs. The oxeye daisy is particularly pernicious, and it can often fly under the radar thanks to its resemblance to the common daisy.
With its fernlike foliage, clusters of tiny white flowers, and ability to reach heights up to four feet high, the wild carrot makes a striking visual impression. This attractive wildflower herb belongs to the Apiaceae family, which encompasses many aromatic edible plants including celery, fennel, and parsley. Wild carrot and domestic carrot are subtypes of the same species, and both have edible taproots. Unlike domestic carrots though, wild carrots can only be eaten when they are very young before they become tough and inedible.
In North America, wild carrot is often known by the name Queen Anne’s Lace. The moniker was thought to come from Queen Anne, who was a renowned lacemaker. The lacy white blossoms on this plant are dotted with small purple florets that resemble a drop of blood that might fall onto lace from a pricked finger.
Wild carrot is lovely to look at, but its lofty height and fast maturation can endanger native plants. A single plant can produce as many as 40,000 seeds, propagating prodigiously. This plant is especially ill-suited for environments like hay fields and pastures, as its flowers can be mildly toxic to horses, pigs, and other livestock. Cattle that graze on wild carrot in abundance can also produce tainted milk.
Dandelions are tap-rooted perennial plants that are capped with vibrant yellow flowers when they first bloom. Unfortunately, this burst of brilliant color is all too short-lived. Within about two weeks of blossoming, the silky yellow flowerheads transform into fluffy white seedheads. The fuzzy flowers may look innocuous, but these petite puffballs are a devastatingly effective delivery method designed to carry the dandelion seeds across great distances.
Many weeds are harmful to gardens and lawns, but dandelions are surprisingly beneficial. They have deep and wide-ranging root symptoms that pull nutrients from deep under the soil’s surface, making them accessible to other plants. They also help protect against erosion. For the most part, dandelions only need to be removed for aesthetic reasons and not ecological concerns.
Violets are similar to daisies, in that a single name can be applied to a vast assortment of flowers. As many as 400 to 500 species of violets have been identified, but the most well-known is probably the common blue violet because of its eponymous blueish-purple hue. Many people don’t realize that violets also come in a wide array of other colors. Wild violets in particular can fall anywhere along the spectrum from light blue to dark purple, and can also bloom yellow or white.
Wild violets are beautiful no matter their color, but they’re also incredibly aggressive. Their underground root system grows horizontally which makes them challenging to fully eradicate. If any root fragments are left behind, the violets will come back with a vengeance.
Bindweed is a climbing vine adorned with white and pale pink trumpet-shaped blossoms. Bindweed is often mistaken for the more desirable ornamental morning glory plant as both are vines with similarly-shaped flowers. However, bindweed leaves have an arrowhead silhouette while morning glory leaves are shaped like a heart.
The name is likely inspired by its thin, threadlike vines that grasp tightly onto structures and other plants as they grow. Beneath the soil, bindweed has a robust and rugged system of roots and rhizomes that can extend as much as four feet underground. From top to bottom, this stubborn weed seems designed to frustrate gardeners in their efforts to banish it from their landscaping.
Thale cress is a small and scrappy weed that can often be found growing in even the most barren places. You’re as likely to see this frail, flowering plant straggling through the cracks of a sidewalk as you are to find it in your garden. Despite its diminutive size, thale cress has had a major impact on our understanding of plant biology as its short life cycle makes it an ideal candidate for genetic research.
Thale cress is really too small to cause much damage, but it can be an eyesore. Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to uproot from the walls and walkways where it flourishes.
Shepherd’s purse is one of the most prolific wild plants in the world second only to the great common mullein plant in terms of its reach. Part of the mustard family, this flowering plant species is one of the first to colonize lands that have been ravaged by natural disasters like avalanches or wildfires. Shepherd’s purse gets its name from the flat, triangular fruits it bears, which resemble the leather pouches once carried by shepherds.
An edible plant, shepherd’s purse is a standard ingredient in traditional Chinese cuisine. It is also commonly used in natural medicine to treat cardiovascular ailments like low blood pressure and mild heart failure. However, even the most advantageous plants can cause issues in certain regions. Several states classify shepherd’s purse as an invasive species, as it can take over large swaths of land and prevent native flora from proliferating.
Jimson weed is an herbaceous broadleaf plant that appears annually in the late summer months. While some weeds are mild nuisances at worst, others can be downright dangerous. Jimson weed falls squarely into the hazardous category. Part of the nightshade family, jimson weed contains a high concentration of tropane alkaloids. These metabolites are responsible for jimson weed’s psychoactive effects and extreme toxicity.
There are several other names for jimson weed, including devil’s snare, devil’s trumpet, and thorn apple. The latter moniker is inspired by the large spiny seed pods that branch off of the plant’s sturdy purple stem. When ingested, jimson weed can be deadly to animals and humans alike. Topical exposure is less risky, but poison can be absorbed through open wounds so be extremely careful when removing this harmful weed.
With its feathery leaves and showy flower heads, yarrow is one of the more attractive weeds you might encounter when tending your landscaping. This long-blooming perennial from the aster family is resilient enough to flourish in the most inhospitable conditions including drought, extreme heat, and infertile soil. Its tenacity and tendency to spread make yarrow incredibly difficult to remove.
Ironically, the same qualities that make yarrow so irritating to some gardeners are a boon to others. Yarrow serves as a hardy yet handsome ground covering, and its drought tolerance makes it an environmentally conscious pick. Pollinators like beetles, bees, and butterflies flock to yarrow, adding to its eco-friendly ethos.
Common nettle is an herbaceous perennial that has played a crucial role in cultural developments over the centuries. Ancient societies including the Saxons used nettle as a raw material in textile production, a practice that has recently risen again as manufacturers explore more sustainable ways to make clothing. Cultures all over the world have also long used common nettle for medicinal purposes.
The stems and leaves of common nettle are covered with minute hairlike structures that release irritating chemicals when they come in contact with skin, often causing a rash and a prolonged stinging sensation. As a result, many people refer to the common nettle as the stinging nettle. Interestingly enough, the term urticaria is used in the medical field to describe the itchy and painful red welts that may pop up on the skin as a result of an allergic reaction.
This name comes from the Latin word urtica, which is the word for the stinging nettle plant. This weed is so well-known for causing pain, that an entire medical condition has been named after it. When removing common nettle from your yard, be sure to proceed with utmost care to prevent a prolonged period of pain.
Also known as stinking chamomile, mayweed is a bushy broadleaf plant that shows up annually each spring. At a glance, this plant could easily be mistaken for a common daisy since both feature a round yellow center ringed by soft white petals. The difference is that mayweed carries a distinctly unpleasant odor that helps to differentiate it.
Odiferousness is not the only negative thing about this plant. Mayweed can cause skin rashes in humans and will blister the muzzles of livestock like cows if it creeps into their grazing area. It’s important to be diligent when digging out this plant.
Meadow Death Camas
With a name like meadow death camas, you might expect this perennial bulbous bloom to look grim and foreboding. This member of the lily family boasts a stunning cascade of delicate flowers in a dense, pyramidal cluster. Also known as the “poison onion” by some indigenous tribes, this plant is just as deadly as its name implies. Even its scientific name, Toxicoscordion venenosum, is a little terrifying.
Meadow death camas is a fascinatingly complex plant, and it’s also profoundly toxic. It bears more than a passing resemblance to wild onions, and the two can easily be confused for one another by food foragers. In the northwestern United States, death camas has killed more people than any other plant.
Most often found in swampy, marshy areas including wet meadows and riverbanks, water hemlock is the most toxic plant in North America. If consumed in a sufficient quantity, water hemlock can kill a person in as little as fifteen minutes by acting directly on the central nervous system. Water hemlock is part of the Apiaceae family, which is home to many plants that people consume daily.
This deadly weed is covered in umbrella-shaped flower clusters that are virtually indistinguishable from the ones featured on many edible plants, including artichokes, celery, and sweet potatoes among others. It can be referred to as poison parsnip thanks to its resemblance to wild parsnip. Deaths attributed to water hemlock are largely associated with accidental poisonings by people who thought they were consuming something else, so always take care when foraging for food.
Giant hogweed is a toxic and towering perennial plant that can grow as tall as fifteen feet in height. Its striking stature and resemblance to Queen Anne’s Lace may make it seem like an ideal ornamental flower for the garden, but this big plant is associated with even bigger risks. While many poisonous plants must be ingested to have ill effects, giant hogweed is toxic to the touch. When exposed to light, the sap from a giant hogweed can cause skin lesions that blister and bubble up like burns.
Hogweed burns take weeks to heal and can leave scars for months or even years. Always be sure to take extra precautions when dispensing with giant hogweed plants. Use systemic herbicides so you can touch them as little as possible, and cover all exposed areas of skin to prevent accidental exposure.
Pearlwort is a cool-season perennial herb that is often mistaken for moss. This low-growing plant has creeping stems that spread out across expanses of land to form dense mats of dark green foliage studded with tiny white flowers that look like pearls. Its lush look has made pearlwort a popular choice for people looking for a ground cover that is luxurious yet low-maintenance. Although it thrives in moisture-rich environments, pearlwort can grow in nearly any type of soil.
If pearlwort doesn’t fit in with your landscaping vision, it can be tricky to remove. Because it grows so close to the ground, pearlwort is largely impervious to lawnmowers. Meanwhile, its vast spread makes pulling it up by hand a daunting undertaking.
Over the past 150 years, garlic mustard has developed a reputation as one of the most destructive non-native plants in the United States. This invasive biennial herb quickly dominates new spaces and crowds out native flora, making it an enormous threat to the biodiversity that is necessary to keeping ecosystems balanced. Garlic mustard’s roots can even stunt the growth of trees, as its root system releases chemicals that disrupt nutrient transmission in the soil.
Removing garlic mustard from a specific area can take between two and five years, so it requires a lot of dedication. Uprooting them before they seed is key in stopping the spread. Many weeds can be composted after they’ve been pulled, but garlic mustard should be bagged and disposed of in the garbage.
Greater stitchwort is an herbaceous flowering plant that can be readily recognized by its sweet starlike flowers. This wildflower goes by many names, including star of Bethlehem, wedding cakes, milkmaids, and daddy’s shirt buttons. These quirky appellations complement stitchwort’s whimsical appearance. Stitchwort is also known as popguns in some areas, as its seeds explode into the air with an audible cracking sound during the dispersal process.
Greater stitchwort is an edible plant that is sometimes used in salads because of its lettuce-like flavor. Its pollen and nectar are even tastier to the pollinator population, as it attracts a plethora of pollinating insects including bees, wasps, butterflies, and moths.
Ground elder is a flowering perennial that is used as an ornamental ground cover in some areas due to its ability to quickly spread out into a carpet of foliage. In other locales, it is classified as an aggressive and invasive weed because it tends to smother young plants. A shade-loving plant, ground elder is typically found in gardens, graveyards, and woodland areas.
For centuries, ground elder has been utilized both medicinally and as a food source. It is common to find ground elder in areas surrounding monastic ruins throughout Europe, as monks once used it in poultices to treat maladies like arthritis and gout. Ground elder is so closely associated with monks that it is also known by the name bishop’s weed.
Cow parsley is an herbaceous perennial plant that makes a big impression during its short blooming period. The earliest flowering member of the carrot family, cow parsley is identifiable by the abundant sprays of white flowers that cap its tall, hollow stems. In the summer, cow parsley grows quickly, reaching anywhere between three and five feet in height before receding just weeks later.
Apart from its significantly larger size, cow parsley is almost identical to wild carrot and can be referred to as “Queen Anne’s Lace” because these two plants resemble one another so closely.
Feverfew is an herbaceous perennial herb that belongs to the daisy family. Many weeds like dandelions grow individually and are considered solitary perennials, but feverfew sprouts up in the form of small bushes that tend to top out at around 28 inches in height. These bushes sport pale yellowish-green leaves and white flowers with yellow centers that closely resemble the common daisy.
Possibly the most distinguishing characteristic of feverfew is its aroma. It has a strong and pungent odor that most people describe as bitter. This distinctive smell keeps unwanted biting insects like mosquitoes from invading your garden, but they also repel helpful pollinators like bees.
Common hemp-nettle is an herbaceous plant that looks like a taller version of mint. Like shepherd’s purse, common hemp-nettle is a pioneer species that arises in areas ravaged by natural disasters like wildfires. Because common hemp-nettle tends to establish a monoculture, it may completely take over these disturbed lands and prevent other plants from growing.
While hemp-nettle can show up in gardens, it’s most commonly thought of as an agricultural weed. It can harbor pests like potato fungus and nematodes, negatively affecting the surrounding crops. Even most grazing animals tend to avoid eating it, meaning that there is very little to recommend this weed.
As its name implies, Japanese knotweed is native to eastern Asian countries including China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. Initially brought into Europe and the United States as an ornamental plant, it is now classified as an invasive species. National park programs have teams designated to remove invading plants like Japanese knotweed.
The detrimental effects of Japanese knotweed are not restricted to the outdoor environment. This plant can make its way through pavement and even come into homes through cracks in the foundation. Japanese knotweed has been known to destroy structures and cause cave-ins, making it a particularly pestilent plant.
Wood sorrel is a flowering perennial that is most often found in cool, moisture-rich, forested environments. An edible plant, wood sorrel is also known as sourgrass because it has a tart and tangy taste. You can identify this plant by its five-petaled white or yellow flowers, and by its heart-shaped trefoil leaflets that look very similar to clover.
Wood sorrel is prevalent in lawns and gardens because of its affinity for moist, fertile soil. Its extensive, fibrous root system makes it exceptionally difficult to eradicate when it has taken hold. The best way to keep wood sorrel out of your garden is to prevent it from taking root in the first place.
How To Get Rid of White Flower Weeds In Your Lawn
There are several techniques you can employ to eradicate weeds from your lawn, with chemical treatments, manual removal, and cultural controls being the most effective. The most appropriate procedure for eliminating weeds will depend on the characteristics of a given plant.
Arguably, the most straightforward method of removing weeds is to pull them out. Plants like chickweed and thale cress can usually be removed by hand with very little effort. With others like wood sorrel, you may need the assistance of tools like a trowel or garden cultivator.
Sometimes the best way to fix a problem is to stop it from happening in the first place. Using cultural control methods as part of your landscaping routine can go a long way toward heading off weeds before they can take over your yard. This might include improving the health of your soil, drip irrigation that only waters wanted plants, and the use of mulch and ground cover to prevent weeds from popping up. When it comes to weed control, proactive is often better than reactive.
In some cases, using chemicals and herbicides is the best and only way to eliminate weeds from your area. Thanks to technological advances, chemical options are more advanced than ever before. You can use pre-emergent herbicides to prevent weeds from growing in the first place, or look for selective weed killers that only target specific, unwanted plants.
Because every yard and garden is unique, your approach to weed removal will depend on a variety of factors. Before embarking on a mission to terminate all weeds, take the time to do some research and find out what method is the best one for getting the job done.
Tall Weeds with White Flowers
The most common tall weeds with white flowers are yarrow, stinging nettle, mayweed, pearlwort, cow parsley and feverfew. These attractive tall flowering weeds with white petals may add color to your lawn, but these plants can grow quickly and become a real nuisance.