PPDL Picture of the Week
November 7, 2016
Travis Legleiter, Weed Science Program Specialist, Department of Botany and
Plant Pathology, Purdue University
Hophornbeam Copperleaf is a weed that has become more prevalent
in Indiana over the last couple of years.
Also referred to as three seeded mercury, hophornbeam copperleaf is
native to the United States, though historically has remained primarily in the
southeastern states. Purdue Weed
Scientist have noticed a rise in its prevalence over the past five years,
coincidently along with the rise in Palmer amaranth confirmations another weed
historically found in the southeast United States.
This weed has likely made its journey northward on similar
modes of transportation as Palmer amaranth and is often found in the same
fields as Palmer. Hophornbeam copperleaf
has an extended emergence pattern from June through September that can help it
avoid typical herbicide applications in corn and soybean. Although as it often occurs in the same
fields as Palmer it is easily controlled by the high input management tactic
used to control the much more aggressive Palmer plants. To this point hophornbeam copperleaf has not
become a major agronomic weed in Indiana.
Hophornbeam copperleaf is a member of the
spurge family and is unique in that it does not exude milky sap from its flesh
when broken like the other members of this family. The weed can often be confused with prickly
sida, although it has a couple of distinguishing characteristics. Hophornbeam copperleaf can be identified by
its sharply and finely serrated leaf margins that can be compared to a saw
blade. It also can often have a red
tinge or dot at the leaf base where the petiole connects to the leaf
blade. The leaves are also much wider at
the apex than prickly sida lending to a more oval shape than the lance like
leaves of sida.