weed seed identification guide

Visual identification of small oilseeds and weed seed contaminants

6. Bibliography


Black and white drawings. A tool for assisting grain inspectors in seed identification related to grain grading of small oilseeds crops. Text by Karen Bell. Illustrations by Norma Vidal. Edited by Steve Symons.

Previously published as: Handbook on Varietal Identification by Kernel Characters of Barley, Wheat and Small Oilseeds; Part III. by C.H. Owen and M.M. Ainslie: Minister of Agriculture, Canadian Grain Commission; Ottawa, Canada; 1971.

Users should be aware that weed seeds discussed in the bulletin represent a very small number of species of weed seeds that could potentially occur in oilseeds crops. The weed seeds discussed in this bulletin were selected based on being problematic in grain cleaning, end product quality or similarities in visual seed identification to oilseeds crops or other weed seeds of concern.

Visual identification and classification of small oilseeds

Sprout Identification Guide: How To Tell Seedlings From Weeds

How can you identify seedlings and not mistake them for weeds? This is tricky, even for the most seasoned gardeners. If you don’t know the difference between a weed and a radish sprout, you could destroy your vegetable bed before you have a chance at a harvest. You can learn to identify veggie seedlings, but there are some other tricks that can help as well.

Importance of Sprout Identification

When planning a vegetable bed, you may decide to start from seeds directly in the garden. There are benefits to this and it eliminates the step of moving transplants from indoors. One issue comes up though – how can you identify seedlings from little veggie sprouts?

Make the wrong identification and you’ll pluck what you think is a weed only to find you pulled out your vegetable seedlings. When plants are at the seedling stage, they look quite different from their mature stage. To avoid ruining your beds before you have barely started, you need to get good at identifying seedlings.

Is it a Seedling or a Weed?

Knowing how to tell seedlings from weeds is a great skill to have as a gardener. You’ll find plenty of resources online to help you make this identification. These include pictures of vegetable seedlings as well as those of common weeds, allowing you to simply check what you have and only pull weed seedlings. Until you get to know your seedlings better, here are some tricks and tips that will help make the task easier:

Sow your seeds in a very straight row and use markers at the beginning and end of the row so you know where seedlings should be when they start to grow.

  • Know germination times for the plants you’re growing. This will help you be aware of when the seedlings should emerge.
  • Use a control planting to identify your seedlings. Sow a few seeds in a labeled container to make comparisons to what comes up in the garden bed.
  • Avoid pulling weeds until seedlings have developed their true leaves. The first leaves on a seedling are called cotyledons, and they don’t look like the true leaves of a plant, so misidentification is easy at this point.
  • Intentionally sprout weeds early to remove them. A couple of weeks before planting in the garden, place a cold frame, clear plastic, or tunnel cloche over the area you’ll be sowing seeds. This will speed up germination of any weed seeds so you can pluck them out before planting in the bed.

How can you identify seedlings without mistaking them for weeds? Even for the most seasoned gardeners this can sometimes be tricky. Learning to identify veggie seedlings is vital for your garden. Click here for some tips and tricks that can help.