The encyclopaedia of arable weeds

This definitive guide to arable weeds in the UK contains full colour photographs for identification plus information on life cycles, location, biology and management

This guidance provides an easy reference to the major broad-leaved and grass weeds in the UK, including how to identify and manage them based on an understanding of their biology.

Arable weed management home

Available in print

How to identify weeds in arable fields

To aid weed identification, our guidance features photographs of each weed at four growth stages – capturing the most striking features. It also provides details of the weeds’ life cycle and its typical distribution in the UK.

As it is relatively simple to classify a weed as either a broad-leaved weed or grass weed, a web page has been published to group weeds by each type. On each of these pages, the weeds are ordered alphabetically by common names.

Online 'weed manager'

Alternatively, use the online 'weed manager' tool to identify the populations present in your fields.

Use key features to identify weeds

Further information

Originally put together with combined funds from AHDB and Defra, the Encyclopaedia of arable weeds was rebranded in 2018. To makes it even easier to identify and manage arable weeds, the publication was converted to web pages in 2021.

Before applying herbicides, always check product labels for recommendations and approvals.

Managing arable weeds across the rotation

Weed control is vital for high yields of good-quality arable crops and to help manage the spread of pests and diseases. Yet, with limited active ingredients, a need to protect water and manage herbicide resistance, the weed challenge must be managed across the rotation.

How to manage weeds in arable rotations




Annual meadow-grass Awned canary-grass Barren brome Field bean sugar beet bent Bindweed Black mustard Black nightshade Broad-leaved dock Campion Canadian fleabane canary-grass wild carrot Chickweed common Cleavers Cock’s-foot Common chickweed Common couch Common field-speedwell Common fumitory Common hemp-nettle Common mouse-ear Common nettle Common orache Common vetch Corn spurrey Cornflower Couch crane’s-bill creeping thistle crested dog’s-tail Curled dock Cut-leaved crane’s-bill Daisy Dandelion Dead-nettle Dock Fat hen fescue Field bean Field bindweed Field forget-me-not Field horsetail Field pansy Fleabane fluellin Fool’s parsley Forget-me-not Fumitory garlic mustard Green field-speedwell Groundsel Hedge mustard Hedge-parsley hemlock Hemp-nettle Henbit horsetail Italian rye-grass Ivy-leaved speedwell Knapweed Knot-grass Linseed Long-headed poppy loose silky bent Mayweed Meadow-grass Mouse-ear Mustard Nettle Nightshade nipplewort wild oat onion couch Orache Pale persicaria Pansy Parsley Perennial rye-grass Perennial sow-thistle Persicaria Pineappleweed scarlet pimpernel Potato Prickly sow-thistle Radish ragwort red dead-nettle red fescue redshank Rough-stalked meadow-grass Round-leaved fluellin perennial Scented mayweed Scentless mayweed Sharp-leaved fluellin Shepherd’s-needle Shepherd’s-purse Small nettle sow-thistle soft brome sow-thistle spear thistle Speedwell common field Speedwell green field Speedwell wall speedwell Sunflower Thistle Venus’s-looking-glass Vetch Wheat White campion Wild pansy Yorkshire-fog arable weeds osr management