Prickly sida

Encyclopedia Article

prickly sida                             Sida spinosa L.

Family: Malvaceae (mallow family)

Life cycle: annual

Habitat: crop fields, gardens, waste areas

General description: Branched, erect plant reaching heights of 1.5 ft. Leaves are ovate to oval, alternate, up to 2” long with serrate margins. Petioles have linear stipules at base Pale yellow flowers found in axils of leaves. Small spurs (spines) are produced at the base of the petioles on the nodes. These spurs are the source of common and botanical name.

Key ID traits: Serrated, lanceolate leaves with two spines on nodes of the stem.

Similar species: The cotyledons and first leaves resemble those of velvetleaf, but lack the soft hairs.

Fun facts: Prickly sida historically was considered a southern weed, but is becoming more common in Iowa, especially in the southeast part of the state. Also called teaweed since leaves similar to those of tea.

Weed ID Factsheet Index

Cotyledons are round to heart-shaped with long petioles.

seedling with ovate leaves with dentate margins
Seedling with ovate leaves with dentate margins

The ovate leaves with finely dentate margin are a key ID trait for prickly side.


spur at base of leaf petiole (leaf cut off in photo)
Spur at base of leaf petiole (leaf cut off in photo)