Ragweed, common

  • Ambrosia artemisiifolia


Roosting coverEscape cover Brood coverFood
Common ragweed

Common ragweed's upright structure and dense foliage makes it ideal as brood habitat.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation


Male flowers

Male flowers are borne at the tips of the plant, while female flowers (where seeds are produced) occur at leaf axils.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation

Leaves are deeply lobed

Common ragweed leaves are deeply lobed and distinctive.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation

Ragweed seeds

Ragweed seeds are a frequent and preferred food of bobwhites. Seeds are easily recognized by the pointed tips and cusps.

Steve Hurst, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Disturbance stimulate lots of ragweed seedlings

Disturbance, especially in fall, such as disking or burning should stimulate lots of ragweed seedlings the following year.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


Common ragweed is an annual, commonly growing to 18 inches. Found throughout the Midwest, it quickly comes up in disturbed areas or following a fire. Leaves are simple, alternate, smooth and deeply lobed. Often the lobes are lobed again. Common ragweed is similar in appearance to western ragweed, a perennial species common throughout the Great Plains.

Bloom period

July to October

Use by bobwhites

While the plants in this genus are persecuted as a field weed and the cause of hay fever, ragweed is undoubtedly among the most important foods of bobwhites. Ragweed seeds have a high energy content and are likely to be found in the crop of any bobwhite in fall and winter. It may be one of the few plants standing and holding seed above snow and ice during severe winters. In addition, patches of mature ragweed serve as roosting cover, while the structure of the plant and its tendency to thrive in early successional plant communities make it good brood cover as well. Ragweed responds best to disturbance in the fall; disking or burning in late spring may kill more seedlings than it stimulates.