Galega officinalis, Goatsrue

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener September 20, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Galega officinalis, Goatsrue

Goatsrue is an invasive plant found in Utah, Pennsylvania, and New York. Goatsrue is listed as a Federal Noxious Weed. It is an herbaceous, perennial plant that can grow up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) in height. Plants are shrubby and multi-stemmed with alternate, pinnately compound leaves. Purple to white, pea-like flowers are arranged in terminal or axillary racemes and are present from June to July. Fruits are short pods with up to nine seeds each. Goatsrue invades wet, disturbed areas such as streambanks, low pastures, and ditches. It can form dense thickets and is toxic to livestock. Goatsrue is native to the Middle East and was first introduced into the United States in Utah in 1891 as forage for livestock.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Fabales > Fabaceae > Galega officinalis L.

Synonym(s): goat's rue, professor-weed

Galega officinalis - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Goatsrue - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an Invasive Species to EDDMapS

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

It is an herbaceous, perennial plant that can grow up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) in height. Plants are shrubby and multi-stemmed.

Randy Westbrooks, U.S. Geological Survey, bugwood.org Steve Dewey, Utah State University, bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound.

USDA APHIS PPQ Archive,  USDA APHIS PPQ,   bugwood.org USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ,  bugwood.org

Flower

Purple to white, pea-like flowers are arranged in terminal or axillary racemes and are present from June to July.

Steve Dewey, Utah State University,  bugwood.org Steve Dewey, Utah State University,  bugwood.org

Fruit

Fruits are short pods with up to nine seeds each.

Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, bugwood.org Steve Dewey, Utah State University,  bugwood.org

Native species which resemble goatsrue

Tephrosia florida, Florida hoarypea - Images at invasive.org

Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, bugwood.org Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia,  bugwood.org

Tephrosia virginiana, goat's rue - Images at invasive.org

Catherine Herms, Ohio State University, bugwood.org James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, bugwood.org

Additional Images for Goatsrue

Goatsrue - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

Unied States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Domestic Programs Pest Evaluation - USDA APHIS PPQ

Noxious weeds of the Federal Noxious Weed Act - USDA APHIS PPQ

Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - USDA APHIS

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.