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
  • 27 September 2018
  • 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....

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

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    Compendia
    CAB International
    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
  • Distribution map More information

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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

Top of page 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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

PakistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
TurkeyRestricted distributionNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011; EPPO, 2014

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
MoroccoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011

North America

Canada
-OntarioPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
USAWidespreadEPPO, 2014
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-MainePresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-MarylandPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-NebraskaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-New YorkPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-UtahPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2011

South America

ArgentinaRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
ChileRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
AustriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
Czechoslovakia (former)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
FrancePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
GermanyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
HungaryPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
ItalyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
PolandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
Russian FederationRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
SpainPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2011
UKUnconfirmed record
Yugoslavia (former)NativeUSDA-ARS, 2011

Oceania

New ZealandRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Principal habitat
Terrestrial-managed
Disturbed areas Principal habitat
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat
Riverbanks Principal habitat

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
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) seeds Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page 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

Principal Source

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US Federal Noxious Weed List (draft fact sheet 2011)

Distribution Maps

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