Native to the southeast United States, and now found throughout the U.S. and south throughout Latin America and in the West Indies.
A variable weed, ranging from the common winter annual to occasionally a summer annual, or even a biennial. Reproduction is from seeds which germinate in warm soils from spring through the fall. It may be found in most soil types, from dry to wet, in landscape, nurseries, crops, and poorly maintained turf. Stems may grow close to the ground and avoid high mowing in turf.
Plants grow from a wide, thick basal rosette of leaves. Stems grow out from the sides of this rosette and usually grow erect but may be more prostrate. Additional stems branch off from the main stem along the upper length, and stems are often hairy with a reddish tint. The root system is fibrous with a strong taproot.
Leaves in the rosette as well as along the stem are elongate, hairy, and alternate, with their margins irregularly notched, lobed, toothed, or even pinnatifid. Leaves may be almost 4 inches long and are either smooth or sparsely hairy. Flowers are large, yellow to reddish, and showy, with 5 large petals forming a tubular shape. Once the petals fall the fruit forms as an elongate, cylindrical, 4-ribbed seed pod up to an inch and a half long.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Individual plants are most easily controlled by physical removal, and maintaining a healthy turf will help to compete with this weed in turf settings.