Other common names
Mexican burningbush, Mexican fireweed, fireweed, mock cypress, summer cypress, etc. Kochia should not be confused with forage kochia (Kochia prostrata), a perennial shrub often planted during revegetation projects.
When mature, kochia grows into a Christmas tree‐shaped plant 1 to 6 feet tall. The seedlings have a very different appearance, with soft, silvery leaves. This plant does not have stickers or spines. Dead plants will break off and tumble.
Narrow with smooth edges, ½ to 2 inches long. The blades have 3 or 5 prominent veins. The edges of the leaves are hairy. The upper surface is usually smooth, and the lower surface is usually covered with soft hairs.
Branch from the base, slender, often softly hairy but sometimes smooth. Stems are often striped with red.
Tiny green flowers are arranged in spikes. The flowers do not have petals and are difficult to see. Blooms from late summer to fall.
Grows a deep taproot.
Europe; naturalized throughout the United States
Where it grows
Roadsides, vacant lots, in pavement cracks and other disturbed or unmanaged sites. Kochia tolerates poor, salty soils and drought conditions.
Annual (sprouts, flowers and dies in a single year)
Reproduces by seed.
Control relies on preventing production of seed. Seedlings are easily removed by mechanical means, while mature plants are difficult to remove due to the deep taproot.
Dig, hoe or pull young seedlings. Plants that are mowed will regrow. Mature plants are difficult to pull.
Thick mulches can help prevent seed germination. Plant desirable vegetation that will shade the area and reduce germination and growth of young plants.
Can be grazed when young, but contains substances toxic to livestock, so grazing must be carefully managed.
Apply broadleaf‐selective herbicides on young plants. Mature plants are difficult to kill with herbicides. Pre‐emergence herbicides can be used to manage existing seed banks.