Plant Industry - Plant Protection Section
The Federal Noxious Weed Tropical Spiderwort (Commelina benghalensis) has been found at the Cherry Research Farm near Goldsboro in Wayne County. This is the only known infestation in North Carolina.
Tropical Spiderwort is a serious threat to crop production in eastern North Carolina. It grows rapidly and competes with crops for light, water, and soil nutrients. Its tolerance of glyphosate makes it difficult to control in Roundup Ready crops, and its prostrate creeping growth habit makes it very competitive with peanuts. Its production of seeds underground makes it difficult to control with herbicides.
Tropical Spiderwort is an herbaceous creeping annual weed with small but showy blue flowers (Figures 1 and 2). White flowers also are produced underground on the ends of burrowing rhizomes (Figure 3), and these underground flowers distinguish it from most other species of Commelina. The plant also reproduces vegetatively by rooting at the nodes of its creeping stems. It grows rapidly, and under favorable conditions can reach a height of at least 3 ft.
Tropical Spiderwort is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Old World. It was introduced into the New World and is found in the United States in Hawaii, California, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. It is now considered to be the most troublesome weed of row crops in the state of Georgia. In 2001, it was identified at the Cherry Research Farm in Wayne County, North Carolina.
We currently are developing plans to eradicate Tropical Spiderwort at the Cherry Research Farm and to prevent its further spread in North Carolina.
If you find Tropical Spiderwort on your land, please contact NCDA&CS Weed Specialist Bridget Lassiter at 1-800-206-9333 or by email at Bridget.Lassiter@ncagr.gov.