Purple Flowered Weeds: Identifying Common Invasive Species


An image showcasing a vibrant garden landscape, with a close-up of a purple flowered weed amidst a sea of green grass

Purple flowered weeds are a common sight in lawns, flower beds, and natural areas, but not all of them are harmless. In fact, many of them are invasive species that can wreak havoc on the surrounding environment.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to identifying these invasive purple-flowered weeds. By understanding their characteristics and potential impact, readers will be equipped to effectively control and manage these weeds, ensuring the health and beauty of their landscapes.


Violets are compact plants with lavender-purple flowers and waxy, heart-shaped leaves. They are known for their attractive blooms and compact growth habit.

Cultivating violets in a garden can provide several benefits. Their vibrant flowers add color and beauty to the landscape, and their compact size allows them to be easily incorporated into flower beds or containers. Violets also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to the overall health of the garden ecosystem.

However, if violets become unwanted and start to invade lawns and flower beds, effective control measures are necessary. Removing violets from lawns can be achieved through regular mowing and proper lawn maintenance. For flower beds, manually removing the plants and their root systems is recommended. Additionally, applying a selective herbicide specifically designed for violets can help eliminate them effectively.

Gill (Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie, a vine-like perennial with scalloped leaves, spreads aggressively and can be controlled through proper lawn maintenance. Also known as Gill-over-the-Ground, Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) is native to Europe and Asia and has become a common weed in lawns and gardens. Its small purple flowers and rapidly spreading nature make it a nuisance for many homeowners.

To control Creeping Charlie, several methods can be employed. Regular mowing at the proper height can help weaken the plant and prevent it from spreading. Hand pulling or digging out the entire plant, including its roots, can also be effective. Additionally, applying herbicides specifically designed to target broadleaf weeds can help eliminate Creeping Charlie from the lawn.

The ecological impact of Creeping Charlie is not well understood. While it is not considered invasive in natural areas, its aggressive growth can outcompete desirable plants in lawns and gardens. This can disrupt the balance of the ecosystem and reduce biodiversity. Therefore, it is important to employ control methods to prevent the spread of Creeping Charlie and maintain a healthy lawn.


Bugleweed, a perennial ground cover with glossy dark-green leaves, spreads aggressively and can be challenging to control if it becomes unwanted in a garden or lawn. It is also known as Ajuga reptans and is a common weed found in many regions. Despite being invasive, bugleweed has several uses in herbal medicine. It has traditionally been used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma due to its expectorant properties. Additionally, bugleweed is known for its calming effects and is used to alleviate anxiety and promote sleep.

However, due to its aggressive spreading nature, it is important to control and prevent the spread of bugleweed in gardens and lawns. This can be done by regular weeding, manually removing the plants, or using herbicides specifically designed for broadleaf weeds. It is also beneficial to maintain a healthy and well-maintained lawn, as this can help prevent the establishment of bugleweed.

Bittersweet Nightshade

Bittersweet nightshade, a perennial plant with purple flowers in clusters along branches, is known for its staggered ripening of berries, creating an interesting visual effect.

This plant can be identified by its distinctive characteristics and managed effectively with proper strategies. When identifying bittersweet nightshade, it is important to consider its toxicity and take appropriate precautions. Unlike other purple flowered weeds, bittersweet nightshade has a unique growth habit and leaf shape. Its toxic nature sets it apart from other similar-looking plants.

To tell bittersweet nightshade apart from other purple flowered weeds, one should closely examine the plant’s leaves, flowers, and overall growth pattern.

Additionally, understanding the management strategies for bittersweet nightshade is crucial in order to effectively control its spread and minimize its impact on the surrounding environment.

Canada Thistle

The Canada thistle, a native to Europe and invasive perennial, is characterized by its lance-shaped leaves with spines along the margins. This aggressive weed has light-purple, pink, or white cushion-shaped flowers.

To control the spread of Canada thistle in your garden, it is important to implement effective management strategies. These include regular mowing to prevent seed production, hand-pulling or digging out the plants, and applying herbicides specifically designed to target thistles.

It is crucial to monitor and remove any new growth promptly to prevent the further spread of this invasive species.

The ecological impact of Canada thistle invasion on native plant species is significant. It competes for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients, leading to a decline in native plant populations. This, in turn, affects the overall biodiversity and ecological balance of the ecosystem.

Therefore, it is essential to take proactive measures to control the spread of Canada thistle and protect native plant species.

Bull Thistle

The previous subtopic discussed the invasive Canada Thistle. Now, let’s shift our attention to another prickly weed: Bull Thistle.

Bull Thistle, with its deep purple flowers in clusters, is even pricklier than Canada Thistle. Despite its invasive nature, Bull Thistle does offer some benefits in wildlife conservation. It attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and goldfinches, making it a valuable source of nectar and food for these pollinators. Additionally, the robust growth of Bull Thistle provides shelter and nesting sites for various bird species.

However, it is essential to control and prevent the spread of Bull Thistle to maintain ecological balance. Here are three methods to achieve this:

  • Regular manual removal of Bull Thistle plants, including the roots.
  • Mowing or cutting down the plants before they flower and produce seeds.
  • Applying targeted herbicides specifically designed for controlling thistles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Violets Considered Invasive Weeds?

Violets in gardens are not considered invasive weeds. They have compact growth habits, attractive blooms, and waxy, heart-shaped leaves. While they can be difficult to eradicate if unwanted, their benefits outweigh the cons.

Can Gill (Creeping Charlie) Be Used in Gardens or Landscaping?

Gill, or creeping charlie, can be used in landscaping and gardens. It tolerates shade and moist conditions, making it a versatile plant. Benefits include its lovely fragrance and the ability to attract butterflies and bees.

How Can I Control the Spread of Bugleweed in My Flower Beds?

To control the spread of bugleweed in flower beds, one can implement various management techniques. These include regular monitoring, hand-pulling, mulching, and using herbicides selectively. Managing invasive species in gardens requires a proactive approach.

Is Bittersweet Nightshade Toxic to Humans?

Bittersweet nightshade, a perennial plant, is toxic to humans. All parts of the plant, when crushed, emit a foul odor and contain toxins. Ingesting bittersweet nightshade can cause health risks and should be avoided.

What Are Some Effective Methods for Eradicating Canada Thistle and Bull Thistle From My Garden?

To effectively control the spread of bugleweed in flower beds, one can manually remove the plants and their roots, apply a herbicide specifically designed for broadleaf weeds, or use mulch to prevent their growth. Eradicating Canada thistle and bull thistle from the garden requires similar methods.

Leave a Comment