Ambrosia psilostachya (perennial ragweed)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- Biology and Ecology
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Ambrosia psilostachya DC.
Preferred Common Name
- perennial ragweed
Other Scientific Names
- Ambrosia californica Rydb.
- Ambrosia coronopifolia Torr. & A. Gray
- Ambrosia cumanensis auct. non Kunth
- Ambrosia glandulosa Scheele
- Ambrosia hispida Torr.
- Ambrosia lindheimeriana Scheele
- Ambrosia maritima L.
- Ambrosia psilostachya var. coronopifolia Torr. & A. Gray
- Ambrosia rugelii Rydb.
International Common Names
- English: western ragweed
- Spanish: artemisa perenne
- French: l'herbe á poux vivace
- Russian: ambrosia mnogoletnyaya
Local Common Names
- Germany: Ausdauernde Ambrosie; Stauden- Ambrosie
- Poland: ambrozji zachodnie
- USA: cuman ragweed
- AMBCU (Ambrosia cumanensis)
- AMBMA (Ambrosia maritima)
- AMBPC (Ambrosia psilostachya var. coronopifolia)
- AMBPS (Ambrosia psilostachya)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Ambrosia
- Species: Ambrosia psilostachya
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
DescriptionTop of page
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
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.Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|India||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Israel||Absent, Formerly present|
|-Central Russia||Present, Localized|
|-Southern Russia||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|-British Columbia||Present, Localized||Introduced||1885||Invasive|
|United States||Present, Widespread||Native|
|-Arizona||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Colorado||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Connecticut||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Illinois||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Indiana||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Iowa||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Kansas||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Maine||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Massachusetts||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Michigan||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Minnesota||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Missouri||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Montana||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Nebraska||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Nevada||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-New Hampshire||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-New Mexico||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-New York||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-North Dakota||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Oklahoma||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-South Dakota||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Texas||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Utah||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-Wisconsin||Present, Widespread||Native||Original citation: Britton and Brown (1936)|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Queensland||Present||Introduced||Original citation: Auld and Medd (1987)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Growth StagesTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The chromosome number of 2n=72 for A. psilostachya was reported from Ontario, Canada and Michigan, USA (Mulligan, 1957; Wagner and Beals, 1958). However, Payne et al. (1964) reported chromosome counts for A. psilostachya of 2n=36, 54 and 72, whereas Miller et al (1968) found different populations of A. psilostachya were all diploid (n=18, 2n=36). Payne (1970) reported no correlation between ploidy levels and morphological expressions of A. psilostachya. The hybrid Ambrosia artemisiifolia x A. psilostachya (A. intergradiens Wagner) has been found in USA (Wagner and Beals, 1958). This hybrid often formed clonal populations that persisted for many years but it is not known whether viable seeds are produced in these patches. Somatic chromosome counts from three localities of this hybrid were 2n=54.
Physiology and Phenology
A. psilostachya survives and spreads primarily by spreading rootstocks. The growth of the shoots begins in May (Bassett and Crompton, 1975; Moskalenko, 2001). Vermeire and Gillen (2000) found that survival of A. psilostachya shoots from June to September was greater in mixed prairie (81%) than in tallgrass prairie (63%) and was greater in ungrazed (76%) than grazed plots (68%). A. psilostachya shoots weighed less per unit height in tallgrass prairie, and shoots in ungrazed plots were taller than shoots in grazed plots but weighed less per unit height. These differences in shoot morphology are consistent with increased competition for light in tallgrass prairie and in ungrazed sites. The frequency of A. psilostachya increased on grazed areas (Berg et al., 1997). A. psilostachya can grow from rhizomes 5 cm long. Under glasshouse conditions shoot regeneration from 2-5 cm soil depth was better than from 10-15 cm deep but plants which emerged from the deeper soil layer had the highest shoot and root fresh weights (Miziniak and Praczyk, 2002). Warming increased A. psilostachya stems by 88% when not clipped and 46% when clipped. Clipping increased ragweed stems by 75 and 36% in the control and warmed plots, respectively. Dry mass per A. psilostachya stem in the warmed plots was 38% greater than that in the control plots. Although warming caused no difference in pollen production per stem, total pollen production increased by 84% because there were more A. psilostachya stems (Wan et al., 2002). Flowering occurs in July, and mature seeds form at the end of August or early September (Bassett and Crompton, 1975; Moskalenko, 2001). Seeds contained an average of 13% crude protein and 21% fat (Peoples et al., 1994).
Through its spreading rootstocks, an area can be readily colonized by one or a few original plants despite the small seed set. The reproductive strategy appears similar in all habitats. In the first year, the individual plant does not appear to produce additional shoots from its root system. In the second year, new shoots emerge from the creeping rootstocks thus establishing a clone which can cover about 2 m² (Wagner and Beals, 1958). A. psilostachya is primarily anemophilous (wind-pollinated). It does shed large quantities of air-borne pollen that causes hay fever symptoms (Wodehouse, 1971; Bassett and Crompton, 1975). The plant produces one seed per flowering head. Wagner and Beals (1958) counted a total of 118 flowering heads on one plant from which only 66 fruits developed to maturity. Since reproduction takes place largely by vegetative means, seed production in this plant is of secondary importance to its survival and spread. Seeds have no germination at maturity and usually require winter stratification before germination. The optimal temperatures for seed germination are 18-22°C (Moskalenko, 2001). Seeds are able to germinate both in darkness and light, but light seems to promote germination. Seeds on the soil surface lose their viability after four years, but those in deeper soil layers keep their viability for longer (Beres, 2003).
Allard (1943) states that all Ambrosia spp. are most common between latitudes 45° and 30° in both the northern and southern hemispheres. A. psilostachya prefers well-drained sandy or gravely soils. In Michigan, USA the species forms large clones by proliferation from underground parts in disturbed habitats such as along roadsides and railways and especially around populated areas (Wagner and Beals, 1958). In southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada, A. psilostachya is often found growing in sandy alkaline regions in open habitats (Bassett and Crompton, 1975). A. psilostachya preferentially colonizes non-saline soil over saline soil and clones with the strongest preference for non-saline soil are those least able to grow when restricted to saline conditions. In clonal plant species, non-random associations of genotypes with specific environments may thus reflect habitat selection by plants as well as selective mortality imposed by different habitat patches (Murray and Mishkin, 1985). Salzman and Parker (1985) in laboratory conditions found that paired stems of A. psilostachya clones from natural saline basins survived and grew in salt water, yet dry weight gain of these plants was only 34% of that of plants grown with tap water.
This plant is a major forb species in mixed and tallgrass prairies (Vermeire and Gillen, 2000). Tallgrass prairie includes as representative species; Andropogon gerardii, Schizachyrium scoparium, Panicum virgatum, Sorghastrum nutans, Sporobolus asper, Dichanthelium [Panicum] oligosanthes, Ambrosia psilostachya and Psoralea tenuiflora (Gillen and McNew, 1987). In Texas, A. psilostachya is found in association with Croton spp., Setaria spp., Paspalum spp. and Panicum spp. (Baker and Guthery, 1990). Major species on sandhill rangeland in Oklahoma included Andropogon hallii, Schizachyrium scoparium, Sporobolus cryptandrus, Panicum virgatum, Calamovilfa gigantea, Bouteloua gracilis, Ambrosia psilostachya, Eriogonum annuum and Artemisia filifolia (Baker and Powell, 1979).
The seeds of A. psilostachya are an important food item for bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) in prairie (Vermeire and Gillen, 2000). This plant is forb of particularly high quality for deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) nutrition (Soltero-Gardea, 1991; Soltero-Gardea et al., 1994).
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-42|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||4||12|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||15||31|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-15||-4|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||335||750||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
A. psilostachya spreads primarily by rootstocks and secondary by seeds. Seeds of A. psilostachya are spread by wind and water from mother plants. In spring they transfer by water in ditches, canals and rivers (Moskalenko, 2001).
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Seeds of A. psilostachya are eaten by bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) and whole plants and eaten by deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (Soltero-Gardea, 1991; Soltero-Gardea et al., 1994; Vermeire and Gillen, 2000). It is assumed that these seeds retain viability though this is not proven.
Tillage may be the cause of movement because A. psilostachya can grow from rhizomes (Miziniak and Praczyk, 2002).
The fruits of A psilostachya were found by Russian quarantine observations on imported wheat grain from Canada (Moskalenko, 2001), and this is possibly the greatest threat for further long-distance introduction.
It is unlikely to have been intentionally introduced.
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|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||seeds|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||roots|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page
Social ImpactTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.
Mechanical damage of rhizome buds slightly influenced the regrowth of ragweed (Miziniak and Praczyk, 2002).
For chemical control of A. psilostachya, aerially applied 2,4-D was as effective and more consistent than fenoprop and dichlorprop, with late April and early May the optimum time for spraying (Elwell and McMurphy, 1973). Picloram, dicamba and 2,4-D provided effective control of A. psilostachya in pastures when applied for 2 successive years (Hoffman, 1972; McCarty and Scifres, 1972). Dahl et al. (1989) found that triclopyr and dicamba + 2,4-D were ineffective, but picloram + 2,4-D and dicamba gave adequate control of A. psilostachya. Picloram is recommended for control of A. psilostachya in Mauritius (McIntyre, 1985). Atrazine applied in April also reduced the density of A. psilostachya (Baker, 1979; Rice and Stritzke, 1985; 1986; 1989; Gillen et al., 1987).
Zygogramma suturalis (F.) (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) was introduced from North America for the biological control of Ambrosia spp. and released in several countries, including Russia in 1978 (Reznik et al., 1994), Yugoslavia in 1984 (Igrc, 1987), Croatia in 1985 (Igrc et al., 1995) and China in 1997 and 1998 (Wan and Wang, 1989; 1990). The larvae and adults of the Z. suturalis were able to feed and develop on A. artemisiifolia and A. psilostachya in the natural environment (Kovalev et al., 1983; Kovalev and Vecherin, 1986; Reznik and Kovalev, 1989). However, 10 years after it was introduced into Russia, Z. suturalis was only moderately successful as a biological control agent due to low population establishment (Reznik et al., 1994) and poor movement (Reznik et al., 1990). The second natural enemy of Ambrosia spp., Zigogramma disrupta (Rogers) was introduced into the former USSR from Texas, USA in 1981 for the biological control of A. artemisiifolia and A. psilostachya (Kovalev et al., 1983), with the adults and larvae feeding on the uppermost foliage of the plant (Piper, 1978). The western biotype of Tarachidia candefacta (Hb.) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) was introduced from California, USA into the former USSR in 1967 for the biological control of Ambrosia spp. (Nayanov, 1973; Gilstrap and Goeden, 1974; Kovalev, 1989) and was found to have acclimatized in Krasnodar region, Southern Russia (Shurov, 1998).
ReferencesTop of page
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USDA-ARS, 2003. Hedychium flavescens. 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
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