20 common weeds in Nigeria every citizen should know

20 common weeds in Nigeria every citizen should know

Have you ever wondered what is growing in your garden? Well, with our list of common weeds found in Nigeria, you can finally figure out what that pesky little plant is that is trying to compete with your crops. Learn about some of the weeds that are prevalent in this area of West Africa.

Common weeds in Nigeria

20 common weeds in local areas

You might be surprised, but there are lots of common weeds in Nigeria. Here and there, you can find these plants (that are not always as useless as you might think) growing next to your crops and in your gardens. We have decided to tell you about some of the most prevalent ones, so that you can know what you are dealing with.

Without further ado, here are the Nigerian common weeds and their botanical name:

1. Speargrass (Imperata cylindrica)

Imperata cylindrica
Photo: wiktionary.org
Source: UGC

It is a relatively tall type of grass (growing up to 3 m), and it looks very beautiful, with its long thin stems and fluffy flowers. In some countries, it is used for decoration, roof thatching and even medicine, but in Nigeria, it is mostly considered useless and troublesome, as it hampers agricultural production.

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2. Siam weed (Chromolaena odorata)

Chromolaena odorata
Photo: youtube.com
Source: UGC

While it is known as devil weed in some places, this weed is not quite as bad as you think. Of course, it is a mostly useless plant that grows on the land that lies fallow, but it can keep other weeds away that are much harder to get rid of.

3. Nutgrass (Cyperus rotundus)

Cyperus rotundus
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC

Even though it has the word ‘grass’ in its name and it even looks like grass, it turns out that nutgrass is a sedge. It is a type of weed with triangular stems and tubers that resemble nuts, hence the name. The plant prefers dry conditions, but it can survive in moist soil, which makes it hard to get rid of, so Nigerian farmers hate it.

4. Milkweed (Euphorbia heterophylla)

Euphorbia Heterophylla
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

This plant got its name from the milky white substance it exudes when cut. It has false flowers with no petals, and it might lose colour if it grows as a weed. One of the worst things about this plant is that it might cause anaphylaxis and dermatitis in people who are sensitive to latex, so be careful when you are dealing with it.

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5. Nuke-Noh (Tridax procumbens)

Tridax procumbens
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

Despite the fact that most farmers consider it a weed and even a pest, nuke-boh is actually a medicinal plant. It is said to be helpful for people who are dealing with diabetes. It has lovely flowers, which is why it is also called tridax daisy. That said, this weed is really hard to get rid of, as it is quite invasive.

6. Witchweed (Striga genus)

Striga
Photo: wikipedia.com
Source: UGC

As you might have guessed from the name, witchweed is not a very pleasant plant. It is a parasite, and it robs other plants of their nutrients by penetrating their root systems. Cereal grains suffer from this weed the most.

7. Couchgrass (Digitaria abyssinica)

Digitaria abyssinica
Photo: wikipedia.com
Source: UGC

This is a perennial grass that has long flat blue-green leaves, the roots of which form a mat underground, and that definitely is not good for the crops. This and other species of Digitaria can be found all across West Africa.

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8. Dayflower (Commelina benghalensis)

Commelina benghalensis
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC

While the leaves of this plant are considered edible, most farmers do not appreciate seeing it on their fields. It can cause serious harm to crops of peanuts, cassava, coffee and tea, and it can host a harmful virus that can attack the crops.

9. American bushmint (Hyptis spicigera)

Hyptis spicigera
Photo: theferns.info
Source: UGC

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Compared to some of the other common weeds on this list, American bushmint is not that bad. It belongs to the mint family, and it actually has some redeeming qualities. For instance, its oils are considered as insecticide that can control some agricultural pests.

10. Bahama grass (Cynodon dactylon)

Cynodon dactylon
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

Similarly to nuke-noh, Bahama grass has potential of being used in medicine. It is said to help with constipation and diabetes. It is also useful for grazing animals, so consider it twice before getting rid of this weed.

11. Wild sunflower (Aspilia africana)

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Aspilia africana
Photo: phytoimages.siu.edu
Source: UGC

It seems like a lot of weeds that are found in West Africa (particularly Nigeria) have lots of uses, as this plant is capable of stopping bleeding, accelerating wound healing, treating rheumatic pains and stings from bees or even scorpions.

12. Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum)

Pennisetum purpureum
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

This plant can survive with little water and nutrients, which makes it perfect for some of Nigeria’s dry lands. However, as most other types of weeds on this list, it has its redeeming qualities, as it can improve the fertility of the soil and keep it from eroding, and it can be used in manufacturing.

13. Carpet grass (Axonopus compressus)

Axonopus compressus
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC

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This weed loves the sun and wet soil, as most crops do, so it is hard to get rid of it. On the other hand, it can be used to beautify non-crop lands, such as parks or roadside areas, as it is fairly low-maintenance.

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14. African Club Moss (Selaginella kraussiana)

Selaginella kraussiana
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

As the name suggests, this plant is native to Africa, particularly to its tropical and southern regions. It is very adaptable, so good luck getting rid of it. However, it is rather attractive, so you might not even want to :)

15. African Feather Grass (Cenchrus macrourus)

Cenchrus macrourus
Photo: powo.science.kew.org
Source: UGC

This grass is also adaptable, as it can thrive in cold and hot conditions, and it can tolerate winds and salty ground. It has strongly ribbed, tough leaves that are light green on top and dark green on the bottom.

16. African Olive (Olea europaea)

Olea europaea
Photo: weedsbluemountains.org.au
Source: UGC

Even though you might think that this plant might be good, it is, in fact, not. While it resembles a young olive shrub, it is not quite as useful as its other relatives. Moreover, African olive shrubs are very hard to kill, and their seeds are easily spread by birds.

17. Buffalo grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum)

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Stenotaphrum secundatum
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

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Buffalo grass is known to crowd other plants and weeds, so it is not great if it grows next to your crops. That said, if you plant it in a pasture or ranch, it might be useful for your animals, and it is easy on the eye.

18. Falsethistle (Acanthus montanus)

Acanthus montanus
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC

Unless you have crops in the forest or in the shade, you should not be bothered by this weed. If you do encounter it, protect your hands, as it is very prickly. The plant has rather pretty flowers, so you can enjoy it from afar.

19. Creeping foxglove (Asystasia gangetica)

Asystasia gangetica
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC

This plant can mostly be found roadside and in waste areas, which might seem strange as it has such lovely flowers. Even though it is considered a common weed, it should cause no harm to your crops. On the contrary, its leaves can be consumed as food or used in medicine.

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20. Yellow justicia (Justicia flava)

Justicia flava
Photo: wikipedia.org
Source: UGC

This common weed that can be found in most soils of compound farms and waste areas is actually very useful. Its leaves can be used in making soups and vegetable salt, and they are also known to be used in medicine, along with the other parts of the plant. So next time you see it, do not destroy it right away.

There are lots more common weeds in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole. If you are interested in them, we recommend you to read ‘A Handbook of West African Weeds’ by C. W. Agyakwa and I. O. Akobundu, as it contains numerous species we could not fit in this article.

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Source: Legit.ng

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