Cover crops

Asked May 17, 2016, 8:17 PM EDT

While traveling through the farm country of southeastern Pennsylvania 2 weeks ago I noticed fields full of bright yellow stalks of a plant I can only assume is a crop cove as it is quite tall already indicating a fall planting an covers entire fields. It's a thin, stalky thing, about 23'' tall with a naked straw-like stiff stem for the first 13'' and the rest of the length having alternate leaf stems radiating unevenly around the main stem. At the end of each 5/8'' leaf stem is an upwardly-cupped, 1/4'' seed pod containing 6 brown, ovoid seeds. I sorted through many photos of cover crops but did not come across anything like it. Ever curious, I would be most grateful if you could identify this plant for me. I am enclosing 2 photos of a sample I brought home with me.

Providence County Rhode Island integrated pest management pastures and forages plant identification

1 Response

That looks like the seed stalk for the weed called shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris).

There is a similar weed called Virginia pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum L.).

Both are normally considered weeds and can populated the entire field. they can be difficult to control.