Scientific name: Bassia scoparia
What Is It?
Kochia is a drought-tolerant plant with a deep root, which tends to grow in very dry, disturbed sites. Kochia out competes crops such as potatoes, alfalfa, and wheat and may be poisonous if consumed. It was introduced as a garden ornamental from Asia in the early 1900s and since has spread widely across the United States.
Is It Here Yet?
Yes. Kochia is widespread in eastern Washington and found in a few locations in western Washington.
Why Should I Care?
Kochia out competes crops such as potatoes, alfalfa, and wheat. It may be poisonous if eaten.
How Can We Stop It?
Promote native and desired species to prevent kochia’s successful establishment. It is listed on Washington’s Terrestrial Noxious Weed Seed and Plant Quarantine list, meaning it is prohibited to transport, buy, sell, offer for sale, or distribute kochia plants, plant parts, or seeds. Kochia also is listed as a Class B noxious weed in Washington, meaning it is designated for control in certain state regions.
What Are Its Characteristics?
- Erect, branched stems that are 3-7 feet long, and typically smooth below but hairy above.
- Alternate simple leaves, 1-2 inches long with hairy margins.
- Small green flowers in late summer, which lack petals and are found in clusters.
- Becomes a tumble weed when mature and spreads its seeds as a tumble weed.