Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Galega officinalis
(goatsrue)

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Datasheet

Galega officinalis (goatsrue)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 25 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Galega officinalis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • goatsrue
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Galega officinalis forms dense thickets and competes with and reduces yields of forage plants. Goatsrue produces a toxic alkaloid, galegin, which lowers blood pressure and paralyzes the central nervous system.

    G. officinalis ...

  • Principal Source
  • US Federal Noxious Weed List (draft fact sheet 2011)

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Glasweiner Wald, Merkersdorf, Austria. August 2018.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Glasweiner Wald, Merkersdorf, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Glasweiner Wald, Merkersdorf, Austria. August 2018.
Flowering habitGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Glasweiner Wald, Merkersdorf, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
InflorescenceGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Flowering habitGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Flowering habitGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Flowering habit. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Plant. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitlePlant
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Plant. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Plant. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
PlantGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Plant. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
InflorescenceGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Inflorescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleStem with stipules
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Stem with stipulesGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleStem with stipules
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Stem with stipulesGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipules. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Dorsal side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleLeaves
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Dorsal side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Dorsal side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
LeavesGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Dorsal side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Ventral side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleLeaves
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Ventral side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Ventral side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
LeavesGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Ventral side of leaves. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Seedlings. Botanical Garden, Berlin, Germany. May 2018.
TitleSeedlings
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Seedlings. Botanical Garden, Berlin, Germany. May 2018.
Copyright©Krzysztof Ziarnek (Kenraiz)/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Seedlings. Botanical Garden, Berlin, Germany. May 2018.
SeedlingsGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Seedlings. Botanical Garden, Berlin, Germany. May 2018.©Krzysztof Ziarnek (Kenraiz)/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - dorsal view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleLeaflet
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - dorsal view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - dorsal view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
LeafletGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - dorsal view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - ventral view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleLeaflet
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - ventral view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - ventral view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
LeafletGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Leaflet - ventral view. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipule. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleStem with stipule
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipule. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipule. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Stem with stipuleGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Stem with stipule. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Infructescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleInfructescence
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Infructescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Infructescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
InfructescenceGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Infructescence. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Cross-section of stem. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleCross-section of stem
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Cross-section of stem. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Cross-section of stem. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Cross-section of stemGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Cross-section of stem. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Seeds. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
TitleSeeds
CaptionGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Seeds. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
Copyright©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Galega officinalis (goatsrue); Seeds. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.
SeedsGalega officinalis (goatsrue); Seeds. Senningbach, Austria. August 2018.©Stefan Lefnaer/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Galega officinalis L.

Preferred Common Name

  • goatsrue

Other Scientific Names

  • Galega bicolor Boiss. & Hausskn. ex Regel
  • Galega patula Steven

International Common Names

  • English: common goatsrue; galega; professorweed; professor-weed
  • Spanish: alfalfa galega
  • French: galega officinal

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Echte Geissraute
  • Italy: capraggine
  • Netherlands: geiteklaver

EPPO code

  • GAGOF (Galega officinalis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Galega officinalis forms dense thickets and competes with and reduces yields of forage plants. Goatsrue produces a toxic alkaloid, galegin, which lowers blood pressure and paralyzes the central nervous system.

G. officinalis was added to the US Federal Noxious Weed list in 1983 and is regulated in 12 US states (USDA-NRCS, 2011).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Genus: Galega
  •                                 Species: Galega officinalis

Description

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G. officinalis is a shrubby, herbaceous perennial that can reach 2 meters (6 feet) in height. It is multi-stemmed with alternate pinnately compound leaves. Purple to white pea-like flowers are arranged in terminal or axillary racemes that bloom from June to July. These flowers give way to fruits, which are short pods containing up to 9 seeds.

Plant Type

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Herbaceous
Perennial
Shrub

Distribution

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G. officinalis is a herbaceous perennial native to the Middle East. In 1891, it was intentionally introduced into the USA for study as a forage crop at Utah State University. When researchers discovered that the plant was unpalatable and toxic to cattle and horses, the research ended but the experimental stands of the plant were not destroyed. Over time, the plant spread following Utah’s valley irrigation systems. It now occupies areas of Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, in addition to Utah. Goatsrue grows best in wet disturbed areas, including streambanks, low pastures, and ditches.
 

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: 12 May 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNative
MoroccoPresentNative

Asia

PakistanPresentNative
TurkeyPresent, LocalizedNative

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNative
AustriaPresentNative
BelgiumPresentIntroduced1854
BulgariaPresentNative
CzechiaPresentIntroduced1819
CzechoslovakiaPresentNative
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaPresentNative
FrancePresentNative
-CorsicaPresentIntroduced1952
GermanyPresentNative
GreecePresentNative
HungaryPresentNative
ItalyPresentNative
NorwayPresentIntroduced1905
PolandPresentNative
RomaniaPresentNative
RussiaPresent, Localized
SlovakiaPresentIntroduced1791
SpainPresentNative
SwedenPresentIntroduced1892
United KingdomPresentIntroduced1640

North America

CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-OntarioPresentIntroducedInvasive
United StatesPresent, Widespread
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedInvasive
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedInvasive
-MainePresentIntroducedInvasive
-MarylandPresentIntroducedInvasive
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedInvasive
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-New YorkPresentIntroducedInvasive
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-UtahPresentIntroducedInvasive
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedInvasive

Oceania

New ZealandPresent, Localized

South America

ArgentinaPresent, Localized

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Principal habitat
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Principal habitat
FreshwaterIrrigation channels Principal habitat

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Polyphagous (polyphagous)Main

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Uromyces galegae Pathogen

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Hitchhiker Yes
Research Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plants Yes
Water Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) weeds/seeds Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
Impact outcomes
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Poisoning

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage
  • Invertebrate food

Environmental

  • Ornamental

General

  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora

Materials

  • Poisonous to mammals

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Bibliography

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Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. “Goatsrue”. Accessed 17 June 2009. http://www.invasive.org/species/subject.cfm?sub=4535

References

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EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm

USDA-ARS, 2011. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2011. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Distribution References

CABI Data Mining, Undated. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

EPPO, 2022. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO. 1 pp. https://gd.eppo.int/

Klugh K, 1998. Goatsrue, Galega officinalis, in Pennsylvania (Weed Circular No. 22). In: Regulatory Horticulture, 24 (2) USA: Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture. 25-28. https://www.invasive.org/eastern/other/vol24_10.pdf

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435. http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14435

USDA-ARS, 2011. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database, Beltsville, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl

USDA-NRCS, 2011. The PLANTS Database. In: The PLANTS Database, Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Principal Source

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US Federal Noxious Weed List (draft fact sheet 2011)

Distribution Maps

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