Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Centaurea iberica
(Iberian starthistle)

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Datasheet

Centaurea iberica (Iberian starthistle)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Centaurea iberica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Iberian starthistle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • C. iberica appears to be somewhat weedy in its native environment, but is less aggressively invasive elsewhere than other Centaurea species. The only South American country where it appears to have estab...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Centaurea iberica; habit. Turkey.  June 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionCentaurea iberica; habit. Turkey. June 2016.
Copyright©Erhan Yelekci/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Centaurea iberica; habit. Turkey.  June 2016.
HabitCentaurea iberica; habit. Turkey. June 2016.©Erhan Yelekci/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Centaurea iberica; flowering habit. Israel.
TitleHabit
CaptionCentaurea iberica; flowering habit. Israel.
Copyright©Eitan f/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Centaurea iberica; flowering habit. Israel.
HabitCentaurea iberica; flowering habit. Israel.©Eitan f/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Centaurea iberica; flower. Menashe hills, Israel. May 2008.
TitleFlower
CaptionCentaurea iberica; flower. Menashe hills, Israel. May 2008.
Copyright©Eitan f/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Centaurea iberica; flower. Menashe hills, Israel. May 2008.
FlowerCentaurea iberica; flower. Menashe hills, Israel. May 2008.©Eitan f/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Centaurea iberica Trev. Ex Sprengel (1826)

Preferred Common Name

  • Iberian starthistle

Other Scientific Names

  • Calcitrapa iberica (Spreng.) Schur (1866)
  • Leucantha iberica (Spreng.) Á. Löve & D. Löve (1961)

Local Common Names

  • : abrepuño gigante; azulejo gigante
  • : Iberian knapweed; Spanish centaury-thistle
  • Brazil: centáurea-gigante

Summary of Invasiveness

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C. iberica appears to be somewhat weedy in its native environment, but is less aggressively invasive elsewhere than other Centaurea species. The only South American country where it appears to have established as an invasive alien is Argentina. It has been introduced in Europe and North America, but has either failed to persist or eradication efforts have been successful to some degree. Only in California has eradication not been achieved. Introductions in Wyoming and Oregon have not expanded rapidly. In its native range, various uses in folk medicine are proving to have a scientific basis. C. iberica is on prohibited weed lists in Chile and Australia; and is a Class A noxious weed in California and Oregon, and a prohibited noxious weed in Arizona, Nevada and Wyoming.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Centaurea
  •                                 Species: Centaurea iberica

Description

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Plants 20-200 cm tall; stems 1-several, divaricately much branched (‘bushy’ in some references), often forming a rounded mound, puberulent to loosely tomentose. Leaves hispidulous to loosely tomentose, more or less glabrate, dotted with minute resin glands; proximal leaves petiolate, blades 10-20 cm, margins 1-2 times pinnately lobed or dissected, rosette with central cluster of spines; mid sessile, not decurrent, blades more or less lanceolate, shorter; distal blades linear to oblong, entire to coarsely dentate or shallowly lobed. Heads disciform, borne singly or in leafy cymiform arrays, sessile or short-pedunculate. Involucres ovoid to hemispheric, 10-18 mm. Principal phyllaries: bodies greenish or stramineous, ovate, scarious-margined, appendages stramineous, spiny-fringed at the base, each tipped by a stout, spreading spine 1-3 cm long. Inner phyllaries: appendages truncate, spineless. Florets many; corollas white, pink or pale purple, those of sterile florets slender, 15-20 mm, those of fertile florets 15-20 mm. Cypselae white or brown streaked, 3-4 mm, glabrous. Pappus of white bristles 1-2.5 mm (Keil and Ochsmann, 2006).

Plant Type

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Biennial
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeHolm et al. (1979)
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
ChinaPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-XinjiangPresentNativeChina, Chinese Academy of Sciences (1959)
GeorgiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
IndiaPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativeHooker (1882); Kaul (1986); Sharma et al. (1995)Kashmir 5-6000 ft. Westward to the Atlantic
IranPresentNativeRechinger (1963); Parsa (1978); Khaniki (1995)
IraqPresentNativeField (1940)Jebel Baykhair near Zakho, near Amara
IsraelPresentNativeTadmor et al. (1974); Feinbrun-Dothan (1978); Rubin and Benjamin (1984)
JordanPresentNativePetney (1988); Qasem (2006)
KazakhstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
KyrgyzstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009); CABI (Undated)
LebanonPresentNativeMouterde (1966); Senatore et al. (2005)
PakistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
SyriaPresentNativeMouterde (1966)
TajikistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
TurkeyPresent, WidespreadNativeWagenitz (1975)Fields, roadsides, waste land s.l. -2300 m
TurkmenistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
UzbekistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)

Europe

BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
CyprusPresentNativeMeikle (1977)
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaPresentNativeDostàl (1976)
FranceAbsent, Formerly presentTouchy (1857)Transitory species at Juvenal Port
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
ItalyPresentIntroducedPignatti (1982)Adventive, disturbed places
LithuaniaPresentIntroduced1967Gudzinskas (1997)
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
UkrainePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2009)
United KingdomAbsent, Formerly presentDunn (1905); Fraser (1905); Clement and Foster (1994)Casual alien e.g., once or twice near Slateford Railway Sta. & Leith Docks in 1904; First reported: >1900

North America

United StatesPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresent, Few occurrencesIntroduced1923InvasiveHowell (1959); Robbins et al. (1970); Hickman (1993)Eradicated in 1 location, ongoing in 2 others
-KansasPresentIntroducedMcGregor et al. (1976); McGregor (1986)
-OregonPresent, Few occurrencesIntroduced1954Roché and Roché (1998); USA, Oregon, Institute of Natural Resources (2009)Jackson Co. Clackamas & Wheeler counties
-WashingtonAbsent, Formerly present1929Roche and Talbott (1986)Kittitas Co.
-WyomingPresentIntroduced1955Dorn (1977)Converse (2000), Big Horn counties

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced1956Parodi (1956); Holm et al. (1979); CABI (Undated)Also collections at Smithsonian Herbarium from 1961-1988

History of Introduction and Spread

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C. iberica was introduced in Europe in the 1800s and early 1900s (e.g., Juvenal Gate in southern France and grain fields and railway stations in England and Scotland) but most introductions have failed to persist. Ballast ground introductions in North America have also not established. In California, C. iberica was first reported in 1923 near Solvang, Santa Ynez Canyon, Santa Barbara County (Robbins et al., 1970). In July 1929 a larger population was found near Santa Rosa. Two infestations, one of about 80 acres, were reported in San Diego County (near Ramona in 1932 and in Santa Teresa Valley in 1938) (Howell, 1959; Robbins et al., 1970). As a Class A noxious weed, an eradication program is in effect; one population has been eradicated and eradication is on-going for the other two (Rejmanek and Pitcairn, 2006). C. iberica was reported from 1955 through 2000 in Converse County, Wyoming (Dorn, 1977; Rice, 2009).

Habitat

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C. iberica has been reported in fields and on roadsides and wasteland in Turkey, from sea level to 2300 m (Wagenitz, 1975).

In North America, C. iberica grows along roadsides and in fields and pastures (Keil and Ochsmann, 2006). In California it has often been reported to colonize the banks of watercourses and other moist sites (DiTomaso and Healy, 2007).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details
Arid regions Present, no further details

Hosts/Species Affected

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C. iberica was reported to be one of the top three weeds in mustard fields in the district of Chakwal in Pakistan, and was ranked seventh overall in importance among all the weeds (Nasir and Sultan, 2006).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

2n=16 (Tonian, 1980)

Reproductive Biology

C. iberica reproduces prolifically by seed (Whitson et al., 1996).

Physiology and Phenology

C. iberica plants form a rosette in late May and June and flower in July and August (Whitson et al., 1996). In California, flowering occurs between July and October (DiTomaso and Healy, 2007). It is a winter annual, biennial (Whitson et al., 1996) or short-lived perennial (Keil and Ochsmann, 2006). DiTomaso and Healy (2007) state that “the biology of this species is probably similar to purple starthistle” indicating that little is known about C. iberica in North America. Turkoglu et al. (2009) studied the effects of temperature on germination in C. iberica above 1750 m in Turkey. In Israel, it flowers in April, May, June and July (http://www.flowersinisrael.com/Centaureaiberica_page.htm).

Environmental Requirements

In Israel, C. iberica grows on light soils and in the Mediterranean it occurs in woodlands and on shrublands, semi-steppes and the montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Bruchidius tuberculatus Herbivore Seeds Nakeer et al., 2013

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Most seed falls near the parent plant or is dispersed over short distances by wind or sometimes water (DiTomaso and Healy, 2007).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Longer distance dispersal is probably mediated by human or other animal activities, for example, on vehicles, in mud or soil, on hooves or equipment, clinging to fur or hair, or passing through the digestive tract of an animal. The presence of C. iberica at woollen mills indicates that sheep transport the seeds (Fraser, 1905).
 
Accidental Introduction

All of the introductions appear to have been accidental, or at least caused by carelessness. Soil carried as ballast on ships may have been the most significant long distance dispersal mechanism for C. iberica between continents (Roché and Talbott, 1986) but it has also been transported with grains (Dunn, 1905).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Animal production Yes
Disturbance Yes

Pathway Vectors

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Economic Impact

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In Israel, where it is native, C. iberica is a weed in agricultural fields (Rubin and Benjamin, 1984; Hadar et al., 1988) as well as a dominant plant in some annual grasslands. It is used as rangeland for sheep production (Tadmor et al., 1974).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

C. iberica
is present as a part of the diverse native flora in the best rangelands on the West Bank, which are suitable for a Highly Sensitive Area (HSA): in the District of Jenin, on the northeastern side of the mountain of Lehif Jader (Palestine Institute For Arid Land and Environmental Studies, 1996).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture

Uses

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Economic Value

Drozda (1965) reported the occurrence of cnicin in C. iberica. Dumlu and Gürkan (2006) isolated sesquiterpene lactones and a steroidal compound from C. iberica in Turkey, which showed significant antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. Ulusoylu et al. (2001) reported antibacterial and antifungal activities in extracts from C. iberica in Turkey.

C. iberica
is one of several Centaurea species used in Turkish folk medicine to alleviate the pain and inflammatory symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis, high fever, headache, and for healing of wounds (in particular, the aerial part of C. iberica is applied on wounds for healing). Koca et al. (2009) evaluated the anti-inflammatory and healing properties of extracts of C. iberica. They found that C. iberica displays remarkable wound healing and anti-inflammatory activity. Senatore et al. (2005) studied the chemistry of C. iberica in Lebanon and isolated 91 volatile components, mostly fatty acids and hydrocarbons. In Pakistan, Hussain et al. (2004) studied antidiabetic compounds in C. iberica and found insulin secretagogue activity at 10 µg/mL in its extracts. Abdel-Jalil (2002) also investigated extracts of C. iberica for possible hypoglycaemic activity.

In Jordan, Qasem (2002) studied the effects of root exudates of C. iberica on parasitic branched broomrape (Orobanche ramosa) and determined that they did not reduce parasitic infection in tomatoes.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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C. iberica closely resembles Centaurea calcitrapa (Keil and Ochsmann, 2006). The rosettes of both species have deeply lobed leaves with light coloured midribs and spines develop in the centre of the rosette. The introductions in Kansas and Wyoming were first reported as C. calcitrapa (McGregor, 1986). The capitula of C. iberica are more globose than the narrow heads of C. calcitrapa (Roché and Roché, 1998). Achenes of C. iberica are plumed with a pappus, whereas those of C. calcitrapa lack this feature (Keil and Ochsmann, 2006; DiTomaso and Healy, 2007). Plants of C. iberica tend to be taller and more robust thanthose of C. calcitrapa (McGregor, 1986).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Prevention

In 1978 Chile included C. iberica in a list of species whose seeds were prohibited from entry to the country (faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/chi9312.pdf). It is also on the prohibited seed list for Australia (http://www.invasive.org/gist/global/australia/ast.html).

References

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Abdel-Jalil H, 2002. Screenng for a possible hypoglycemic activity of selected Jordanian medicinal plants. Jordan Journal of Applied Science (Natural Sciences), 4(1):1-7

Ahmed N, Bibi R, 1979. Chemical investigation of Centaurea iberica. Fitoterapia, 5:199-200

Al-Ali AS, Abbas SA, Al-Neamy IK, Abdul-Masih AME, 1978. On the biology of the yellow safflower fly Chaetorellia carthami Diptera Tephritidae in Iraq. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 87:439-445

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Drozda B, 1965. The occurrence of cnicin in the herbs Centaurea calcitrapa L., C. iberica Trev. and C. ovina Pal. Diss. Pharm. Pharmacol, 19:223-225

Dumlu MU, Gürkan E, 2006. A new active compound from Centaurea species. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung. Section C, Biosciences, 61(1/2):44-46. http://znaturforsch.com/c.htm

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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30/11/09 Original text by:

Cindy Roché, Consultant, USA

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