Zac Reicher, Turfgrass Extension Specialist
Star of Bethlehem and Spring Beauty are currently emerging and flowering in shaded areas. Both plants have pretty white flowers with the Star of Bethlehem having six petals while Spring Beauty has only five petals. More photos and information on these weeds are available at:
http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/tips/star.htm and http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/tips/spring.htm
The Star of Bethlehem was once planted as an ornamental while the Spring Beauty is native. Both plants are more common in shaded areas with thin turf. There are no effective controls for either plant, but some suggest that preemergence herbicide applications made very late in fall or early spring will work. Some homeowners have success digging the plants out by hand. This weed is most obvious during flowering, which may only last for a few weeks. It is probably best to simply tolerate this weed and instead of attempting control it, enjoy the color for the few weeks it will last.
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Last updated: 9 April 2002/tlm.
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.