Inula britannica (british yellowhead)
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Inula britannica L.
Preferred Common Name
- british yellowhead
Other Scientific Names
- Inula japonica Thunb.
International Common Names
- English: British elecampane; meadow fleabane
- Chinese: ou ya xuan fu hua; xuan fu hua
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Inula brittanica can reproduce vegetatively from root sections or rhizomes. It contaminates and competes with nursery stock. As humans move hosta rootstock, I. brittanica rhizomes may hitchhike. In Michigan, USA, nurserymen report spread by machinery. The seeds have a long pappus so are assumed to be capable of wind dispersal. This plant is likely spread by water fowl (Blamey & Wilson, 1989), and by man because of its purported medicinal value.
I. britannica was added to the US Federal Noxious Weed List and seed list in 2010.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Inula
- Species: Inula britannica
DescriptionTop of page
I. brittanica is an erect herb, growing 15-75 centimeters (6-30 inches) tall. The stems can be covered with dense white hairs. It can be biennial or perennial. The leaves are elliptical to ovate elliptical, 3.8-15 centimeters (1.5-6 inches) (about 5 times the length of the seed) long, with smooth margins. They are sparsely pubescent on the upper surface and densely pubescent on the lower surface. The weed reproduces by seeds, short rhizomes, or by root fragments. A common arrangement is a mother plant surrounded by 6-8 “satellite” plants all connected by common rhizomes. Flowers are yellow, daisy-like, and occur in clusters of one to three. The plant typically flowers from July to August. The plant can reproduce vegetatively from root sections.
Plant TypeTop of page Biennial
DistributionTop of page
I. brittanica is native to Europe and temperate Asia. It prefers wet habitats, including river and stream margins, marshes, ditches, and wet woods and grasslands. The roots and rhizomes of I. brittanica intertwine with the root systems of Hosta plants imported into the USA from the Netherlands. This contamination can remain in the Hosta root systems even after washing and shipment. In Canada, I. brittanica was introduced into Ontario around 1928, along the Etobicoke River and into Quebec (in 1979 or before) on Dupas Island in the St. Lawrence River, where it forms a colony in a pasture. A specimen was collected in 1915 close to New York City on Long Island. The species, collected in an area that is now densely populated, likely did not persist. In the early 1990’s, I. brittanica was found growing in a few nurseries in Michigan. Concern was expressed to USDA APHIS and the National Plant Board. Recent survey in the United States in eastern and southern states found 9 states negative for I. brittanica, with populations confirmed only in Michigan.
Distribution TableTop of page
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.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Principal habitat|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Roots||roots||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Reproduces asexually
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
Uses ListTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
A pest risk assessment finalized by APHIS (Lehtonen and Schall, 2000) ranked I. brittanica medium in consequences of introduction and high in likelihood of introduction, resulting in an overall medium/high risk potential in the U.S. The species was added to the Federal Noxious Weed List and seed list in 2010.
BibliographyTop of page
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, July 2002. Accessed 15 June 2009. http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1227/ANR-1227.pdf
Blamey, M. and Grey-Wilson, C. 1989. The Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe.
Lehtonen , Polly and Schall, Robert A. 2000. Weed Risk Assessment Inula britannica L(British elecampane). Updated November, 2004 and February 2009. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/weeds/riskassessments.shtml
Morton, Cynthia M., Hansen, Curtis J., Karr, Guy. “Inula brittanica L.—An Aggressive Weed Alert.”
ReferencesTop of page
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
Principal SourceTop of page
US Federal Noxious Weed List (draft fact sheet 2011)
Distribution MapsTop of page
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