Kochia scoparia


Family: Chenopodiaceae

Other scientific names: Bassia scoparia

Other common names: burning bush, Mexican firebrush, mock cypress

Weed Class: B

Year Listed: 1988

Native to: Europe and Asia

Toxic: livestock

Other Legal Listings: WA Quarantine list, WAC 16-750

additional photos



Why is it a noxious weed?

In areas where kochia is widespread, it is considered a serious pest of late-maturing crops. Kochia is an effective competitor for light, nutrients, and soil moisture, and can reduce crop yield.

How would I identify it?

General Description: Kochia is an annual herbaceous plant that has a deep taproot and grows 1.6 to 4.9 feet tall. Kochia stems are upright and spreading with many branches.

Flower Description: Flowers are small and green, grouped in clusters in the upper leaf axils and on terminal spikes.

Leaf Description: Kochia leaves are alternately arranged and are 1 to 2 inches long. They are narrow to lance shaped with smooth, hairy edges and may have silky hairs on leaf undersides.

Stem Description: Stems are upright, branched and have hairs on the upper parts of stems, sometimes tinged red.

Fruit/Seed Description: Each flower forms a small inflated seed bearing structure that is covered by the sepals. Seeds are wedge-shaped and light brown.

May be confused with:

How does it reproduce?

Kochia reproduces from seeds, it typically produces around 14,600 seeds per plant. Seeds are dispersed in the fall when the plant becomes a tumbleweed.

Where does it grow?

Kochia is found on pasture, rangeland, roadsides, ditch banks, wastelands and cultivated fields. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of kochia in Washington.

How do I control it?

Mechanical Control

Mowing or slashing the plants before flowering is effective in reducing seed production.

Cultural Control

Early tillage in the spring gives good control of the Kochia seedlings.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.


For more information

Report on kochia from the book "Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States"
Lincoln County Noxious Weed Board options for control of Kochia
See our Written Findings for more information about kochia (Kochia scoparia).

Additional Photos



Kochia infestation




Close up of developing flower buds


Forming flower buds


young plant pre flower




stem tip leaf arrangement


stem tip


plants at field edge


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