13 Large Weeds That Look Like Trees (#7 Will Creep You Out)

Large weeds that look like trees invading your garden aren’t something to be happy about. They colonize at a very fast pace and prevent the nearby plants’ growth.

Tall weeds like Norway Maple, Black Locust, or Ricinus are challenging to deal with if you let them grow for a long time in your garden. So follow us to find out the most common large weeds and learn the best way to identify them.

13 Large Weeds In Your Garden That Look Like Trees

Tree Of Heaven (Not heaven for my garden, though)

Please don’t get tricked by its name. It is a fast-growing and exotic tree that can spout and grow in various types of soils and conditions.

Tree of heaven is one of the most invasive species, not just because of its quick spread.

It also prevents the nearby plants from flourishing. To make things even worse, the tree of heaven can even leave rashes on some people’s skin. So, if you have sensitive skin, stay away from them.

Norway Maple (Your favorite maple tree Or not?)

Norway Maple is an invasive plant that shouldn’t appear in your landscape. These tall weeds with yellow flowers are the devil in disguise.

A mature plant can grow up to more than 65 feet (780 inches tall) with a mottled gray trunk. The wind can blow its yellow-green flowers and seed far away from the parent tree. And that makes controlling Norway maple difficult.

Black Locust (A mysterious weed with pea-like flowers)

Black Locust is a fast-growing tree in the legume family. This tree has white flowers, narrow leaves, orange-brown bark, seedlings with lengthy thorns, and mature trees can grow to be 40-90 feet tall.

13 Large Weeds That Look Like Trees (#7 Will Creep You Out)
“Black Locust” by treegrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Black Locust seeds can be dispersed by the wind, which allows them to colonize at a fast pace. If you don’t control its seed germination rate, it can fight with other native plants and form a colony on disturbed soil.

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Ricinus (Beautiful but deadly queen)

Despite its attractive look, Ricinus is one of the world’s most poisonous plants. These tall weeds with thick stalks can grow to 6 meters in height.

This plant’s oil contains a toxin called “ricin.” It can be lethal for both animals and humans. Flowers, leaves, and especially seeds can cause severe illness or even death.

Learn more about how to control Ricinus at NSW Department of Industry.

White Mulberry (I love the ripe fruits, but be careful)

White Mulberry is one of the weeds that look like small trees. Even though they are similar to harmless seedlings, they may transmit harmful root diseases to other plants.

A mature mulberry tree can grow up more than 3 feet. All parts of this “tree” are toxic, except for the ripe berries.

I can’t resist the temptation to have those juicy and mouth-watering white berries in my mouth.

Paulownia Tree (Princess tree Or a royal pain)

Paulownia, also known as Princess Tree, was listed as a high-priority “sleeper weed.” This “sleeping beauty” can reach up to more than 15 feet in over a year.

This member of the Paulowniaceae family is one of the world’s fastest-growing trees with serrated leaves and gray bark.

Its rapid growth allows Paulownia to crowd out native plants and disrupt other species quickly. Since their seeds form during summer and fall, you can easily spot these large leaf trees in the winter months.

Creeping Thistle (A horror movie title? I think not!)

No, this is not a horror movie title. These weeds that look like flowers are often mistaken due to their appearance. With flower heads with lilac-pink florets, Creeping Thistle provides a major food source for farmland birds.

Creeping Thistle quickly spreads in grassland areas and borders. It can rapidly dominate your whole garden unless kept in check.

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Velvetleaf (Stubborn big guy bursting with vitality)

Velvetleaf, also known as buttonweed, is one of the weeds with heart-shaped leaves. Velvetleaf can affect many crops since they are difficult to control.

With an average height of 1 meter and yellow flowers in disturbed soil, they can cover the whole area when left uncontrolled. Their seeds can stay in the ground for a long time and germinate many years later.

Velvetleaf is an invasive species and can cause damage to crops by competing with them for nutrients, space, and water.

Wide Lettuce (No, not the viral lettuce water that you saw on TikTok!)

Wild lettuce can grow almost anywhere where it gets lots of sun and little competition. A mature plant can grow up to an impressive height (up to 7 – 8 feet).

Wild lettuce is more than what you usually.” see in your grandma’s garden. Since it has many pain-relieving effects, wild lettuce is a herbal remedy for stress and chronic pain.

Japanese Knotweed (A poison in disguise? Yikes!)

Common Mullein (The good ol’ cowboy toilet paper)

The most distinct characteristic of Common Mullein is its velvety leaves. That’s why it is also frequently known as “cowboy toilet paper”.


Even though it’s a type of weed, Common Mullein has been used as an herbal medicine for coughs and diarrhea.

Musk Thistle (Aggressive warrior in the “field”)

Musk Thistle is an aggressive weed that grows in roadsides and non-crop areas. Despite its appealing appearance, Musk Thistle can damage other plants since they will compete for spaces and nutrients in the ground.

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Just like other thistles, it can attract a wide range of insects. Since Musk Thistle reproduces mostly from seeds, the best way to control them is to prevent seed production.

Get rid of Musk Thistle with easy tips now.

Pokeweed (Caution! Its beauty can bewitch you)

Even though they look like blueberries at first glance, all parts of these big weeds are poisonous. They can be harmful to humans, pets, and any livestock.


Handling pokeweed is no joke at all. You can never imagine how briskly it spread upward as well as downward. So when the plant is still young, using chemicals will be your best solution.

Say goodbye to the dangerous pokeweed by following instructions here.


Above is my list of 13 large weeds that look like trees. I hope that you have enjoyed this article as much as I did when writing it. While going through all types of garden weeds, I have known how to identify and manage them to a certain degree.

What about you? Have you found any mysterious weed bushes while rummaging through your garden? Let me know in the comment section down below!

13 Large Weeds That Look Like Trees (#7 Will Creep You Out)
Photo of author

Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.