Galega officinalis • Class A

Family Name: Fabaceae
Common: Professor Weed
Genus: Galega
Species: G. officinalis

Goatsrue is an herbaceous perennial growing up to 6 feet tall with many stems from a vigorous crown and deep taproot. Leaves are alternate and compound on stems. Clusters of bluish lilac, reddish purple or white flowers develop pods with 8 seeds.

 Why Is it a Noxious Weed?

 . Goatsrue is a federally listed noxious weed. It is capable of forming monocultures in wetland communities, displacing native and beneficial plants and destroying wildlife habitat. It is unpalatable and toxic to sheep. Goatsrue is fatal if ingested. 

Where Does it Grow?

It grows in cropland, ditch banks, irrigation waterways, uncut pastures, fence lines, roadsides and wet marshy areas. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of goatsrue in Washington.


Goatsrue looks similar to species of vetch (Vicia genus), for example American vetch (Vicia americana) when not in flower. Vetch species have tendrils at leaf tips and stems that grow over and around other plants while goatsrue does not have tendrils and grows upright. Wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota), is a native plant that is similar in appearance to goatsrue. Wild licorice has solid stems while goatsrue are hollow, and wild licorice has seed pods covered in bristles and goatsrue seeds pods are not. If you need help with identification, county weed coordinator.

Control Options:
General Control Strategy
An integrated approach using a combination of landowner education, crop rotation, tillage, mowing, digging, hand clipping for seed pod removal and chemicals are used to eradicate goatsrue.
Mechanical Control
Mowing is not recommended as a solitary control method as flowers and seeds can be produced on plants after multiple cuttings.
Cultural Control
Alternative cropping and row crops are effective as cultivation interrupts the life cycle of goatsrue.
Herbicide Control
Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.


More Information:

 Download our Flyer or visit Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board Here


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