Diodella teres: Poorjoe, Buttonweed

Family: Rubiaceae
Common name: Poorjoe, Rough buttonweed

Yet another pretty little wildflower, which is almost invisible unless you walk with you eyes focused on the ground. Poorjoe plants grown on hillsides, wastelands, roadsides or edges of cultivated land where other plants cannot grow due to poor soil conditions, just like tropical girdlepods or slender dwarf morning glories.

These plants can grown to a height of 8-10 inches, with long, hairy stems that grow horizontally; green stems with a tinge of red. Leaves are about an inch long, opposite and without any stalk connecting them to the stem. They have a rough texture, prominent mid-vein and are toothed around the edges.

Poorjoe flowers are very pretty, white, light pink or purple with four distinct petals and prominent stamens. Flowers are about 10mm in diameter, growing from the axils, the angle formed between the leaves and the stem; and are usually solitary.

The name ‘Buttonweed’ comes from the small, hard, button like seeds that are contained inside seedpods, each having two nutlets.

They are considered invasive weeds in agricultural areas, preventing germination of seeds. But since Poorjoe roots are shallow and fibrous, they can be pulled out very easily by hand. The term Poor refers to the capability of this weed to flourish in poor soils and growing conditions.

They are very drought-resistant, and need dry or well-drained soil for survival. Not that they mind rich and fertile soil; but other plants choke the growth of Poorjoe in these areas, thus limiting their growth to roadsides and neglected areas.

Propagation is from seeds.

2 thoughts on “Diodella teres: Poorjoe, Buttonweed

    1. Hi Debbie,
      Thank you for reaching out. Buttonweeds are invasive species though not overly so. If they can be hand plucked and removed, that’s the best solution. If it’s over a large area, you could try tilling though they are very likely to come up again soon since the plants can grow from small cuttings left on the ground.
      There are pesticides and herbicides which can be used to remove Buttonweeds if you don’t have crops in the same area.

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