Benghal dayflower, a state- and federally designated noxious weed that spreads rapidly and can smother agricultural crops, has been identified in Dorchester County.
Officials with the Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI) will be scouting fields Oct. 5-9 in Dorchester, Colleton, Orangeburg and Bamberg counties to determine the extent of the weed’s infestation. All DPI personnel will have state-issued identification badges.
Benghal dayflower, or Commelina benghalensis, is identifiable by its egg-shaped leaves, red hairs on the leaf sheaths and small flowers. The flowers have three petals: two purple and one white. DPI requests the public’s assistance in detecting this damaging weed. If an infestation is suspected, contact the Department of Plant Industry at 864-646-2140 or email@example.com, or contact a local Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service office.
The weed competes with row crops like soybeans, corn, cotton and peanuts for nutrients. Benghal dayflower can spread rapidly because it produces seeds both above and below ground. The weed prefers wet areas but can thrive in dry conditions as well. It can establish itself fairly easily and typically spreads with agricultural equipment, such as tillers and harvesters. Additionally, Benghal dayflower is tolerant to many herbicides and can be a significant problem for Round-up Ready crops.
For more information on Benghal dayflower and other invasive pests, visit the Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture’s Invasive Species Program website at www.clemson.edu/invasives.