Yellow Rocket (Barbara vulgaris)

Yellow rocket leaves are in rosette form with bright yellow flowers clustered at the tips that can be seen in un-mowed areas like around fence posts.

Weeds in lawn Yellow rocket

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Courtesy of Michigan State University

Soil conditions that favor growth:

  • Previously cultivated


  • Increase mow height
  • Thicken lawn by planting grass in any thin or bare lawn areas

Remedy: Post emergent control in spring when actively growing.

Yellow rocket Pictures

Yellow rocket Images

Yellow rocket Photos

Courtesy of Michigan State University

Yellow rocket Control

Courtesy of UMass

Yellow rocket is biennial plant. It can be found in lawn, gardens and roadsides. Yellow rocket is commonly known as weed of lawn grass. However, it is sold in nursery school as an ornamental plant. It is found abundantly throughout continental United States. Yellow rocket is easy to identify. Stems branched out from a basal rosette of glossy foliage. At the base, leaves are smooth, thick and glossy. Stem leaves have less and smaller lobes than basal leaves.

Bright yellow flowers appear in early spring. Flowers are bright yellow in color with four petals. Flowering occurs in second year, only mature plants bloom. The weed reproduce through seeds. Long stalks bear egg-shaped cotyledons. First true leaves have waxy coating, break when plant grow. These leaves are rounded in shape and 2 to 8 inches long. Other leaves are not usually rounded. Yellow rocket like other biennial plants is in form of basal rosette during first year.  Root structure is fibrous and taproot. Smooth stems are straight, ridged and branched at top. Fruit features as one inch long and 1.5 mm wide.

Life Cycle:
Yellow rocket grows from 1 to 2-1/2 feet tall. First year plant produces base leaves. Base leaves grow up to one inch across. Flower stalks are produced in second year. The lobed base leaves produced in second year grow six inches long and one inch wide. The stem leaves produced are smaller in size than basal leaves. Yellow flowers and seed pods are formed in clusters. The weed grows rapidly in moist soil and shinning sun.

One way to avoid yellow rocket is through cultural practices. Proper mowing at appropriate height and watering your lawn on regular basis help control the weed. Weed pulling by hand can be proved effective if yellow rocket seeds are kept away from safe area of your lawn.

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