Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Alternanthera caracasana, Khaki Weed

Alternanthera caracasana, Khaki Weed, Southwest Desert Flora< Alternanthera caracasana, Khaki Weed, Southwest Desert Flora< Alternanthera caracasana, Khaki Weed, Southwest Desert Flora<

Scientific Name: Alternanthera caracasana
Common Name: Khaki Weed
Also Called: Mat Chaff-flower, Washerwoman
Family: Amaranthaceae, Pigweed Family
Synonyms: (Achyranthes peploides, Achyranthes repens, Alternanthera peploides, Alternanthera pungens, Alternanthera repens)
Status: Introduced
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 3 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; heavily stemmed, woody root, spreading along the ground (procumbent), forming mats.
Leaves: Bright green; opposite, glabrous, leaves variable, oval or obovate with short sharp flexible point, paired leaves of unequal size throughout, petioles, clasping.
Flower Color: Whitish, yellowish or straw colored, mostly inconspicuous; sepals only, lanceolate, sharp pointed, sessile in axillary spikes, flowers surrounded by conspicuous white bracts.
Flowering Season: Summer.
Elevation: 2,500 to 5,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Generally waste places.

Recorded Range: Khaki Weed is an introduced species found in the southern part of the United States in; AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NM, OK, SC and TX. It is also introduced in Baja California and northern and central Mexico and Hawaii. It is native to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Central and South America.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Alternanthera caracasana.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Alternanthera caracasana is listed as a Noxious Weed by the state of Arkansas. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.

Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: 12 species in Alternanthera mostly in the southern parts of the United States and Mexico. 9 species introduced, 3 native. 1 introduced species in Arizona.

Comments: Khaki Weed is low growing, mat forming resilient species with whitish flowers and conspicuous white bracts tightly tucked in among leaf axils. It is distinctive and conspicuous, almost striking with its bright green leaves of varying shape and size. It is generally listed as a weed, a noxious weed in Arkansas, often found growing in disturbed areas and a variety of habitats.

Khaki Weed is similar is appearance and habitat to another member of the Amaranth family, Small Matweed, Guilleminea densa, also an Amaranth found in Arizona.

Date Profile Completed: 11/14/2014, 07/06/2015, updated format 10/07/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles as Alternanthera repens.
Steven E. Clemants, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Amaranthaceae | Alternanthera, FNA Vol. 4 Page 448, 449, 451, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (Accessed 11/14/2014).
Wikipedia contributors, 'Alternanthera caracasana', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 June 2014, 02:22 UTC, [accessed 14 November 2014]
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 11/14/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: ttp:// (accessed 11/14/2014)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,