Weed of the Week: Chamberbitter

 Authors: Jed McCoy, Corey Garrison, Justin Hickman

What is Chamberbitter?

Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is a member of the Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), sometimes referred to as gripeweed, leafflower, or little mimosa.  It is native to Asia, but has found its way across the southeast and into Texas. Chamberbitter is a warm-season broadleaf annual and usually emerges around May or June when the soil temperatures have warmed to approximately 70oF.  It spreads by seeds that are located on the bottom side of the branch.  Ornamental beds and turfgrass are the two most common places to find Chamberbitter.  In South America, this plant is believed to be good for medicinal purposes; specifically, treatment of kidney stones.

Chamberbitter Overview Blog

What does Chamberbitter look like?

Chamberbitter can grow tall and thin, which can be aesthetically unpleasing.  The leaves grow in two alternating rows.  Leaves are thin and smooth which resemble the seedling of a mimosa plant.  It is best identified by the fruiting structures on the underside of the branch which produce numerous seeds.  These seed capsules can explode and spread seeds over a large area.  Also, like some spurge, if you break the stem, it will produce a milky white sap.

Chamberbitter seeds Blog

How do I control Chamberbitter?

Chamberbitter can be a difficult weed to control.  It is drought tolerant and grows rapidly.  Seeds on the underside of the plant can be produced in as little as two weeks.  If making a pre-emergent herbicide application, Chamberbitter control is often unreliable because it germinates later in the spring than most summer annual weeds.

Cultural Practices:

  • Frequent mowing
  • Hand pulling
  • In landscape beds, 1-3 inch mulch layer will block seed from receiving light

Chemical Control

  • Atrazine
  • Three-way herbicides containing dicamba, 2,4-D, mecoprop (MCPP)
  • Isoxaben (Gallery 75DF)

 

One thought on “Weed of the Week: Chamberbitter

  1. Thanks. I live in south Mississippi. Frequent mowing does not work well with chamberbitter unless you mow really, really short. Chamberbitter will adapt to being lopped off and will become a spreading plant. I have pulled up chamberbitter plants that are 7″ wide and 3/4″ high. If frequently lopped, they just put all of their energy into spreading their lower branches out from the main stem, and making lots of seeds on those. So, unless you plan on scalping your lawn to control the chamberbitters, I suggest sticking to atrazine applied in early June and late July.

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