Experiments were conducted to determine adaptation characteristics to reduced irradiance of velvetleaf, common lambsquarters, eastern black nightshade, tumble pigweed, and soybean. Plants were grown to the 5- to 8-leaf stage in the greenhouse at ambient radiation (850 μE·m–2·s–1), and 26 and 13% of ambient radiation. Tumble pigweed, a C4 plant, had the highest light-saturated photosynthetic rates at all growth irradiances, while common lambsquarters had the highest rates of the four C3 species. All species adjusted to reduced irradiance by decreasing light-saturated photosynthesis, leaf respiration rates, root:shoot ratios, and leaf densities, while increasing leaf area ratios (LAR)3. As growth irradiance was reduced, support tissues (roots, stems, and petioles):leaf ratios did not change for common lambsquarters or velvetleaf, increased for soybean, and decreased for eastern black nightshade and tumble pigweed, indicating superior adaptation of the latter two species for efficient light harvesting at reduced growth irradiances. Of these five species, eastern black nightshade had the lowest respiration rate, the highest LAR, and the lowest support:leaf ratio for optimum adaptation to shaded environments.