Massachusetts
Introduced Pests Outreach Project

Inula

(Click on an image below to see the captioned full-size version)
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Scientific Name: Inula britannica
Common Names: Inula, British elecampane, British yellowhead, Meadow fleabane, Yellow Starwort, xuan fu hua

Habitat:
Tolerates a wide range of soil types. Prefers wet habitats such as river and stream margins, marshes, ditches, and wet woods.

Key ID Features
Perennial reaching 6 to 30 inches in height. (Figure 1)
Alternate leaves are narrow and taper to a blunt point, 0.5 to 1 inch wide & 1.5 to 6 inches long. (Figure 2)
Stems and the undersides of the leaves are densely hairy. The upper surface of the leaves have fewer hairs. (Figure 3)
Flowerheads resemble small, yellow sunflowers. They are 0.75 to 1 inch in diameter with a cluster of disc flowers in the center surrounded by yellow ray flowers. (Figures 4 and 5)
Inula can reproduce vegetatively from root sections. Inula was introduced to the United States intermingled with hosta rootstock. Inula and hosta roots are difficult to distinguish. Inula has light white, smooth roots while hosta roots are thicker and covered with small raised bumps. (Figures 6 and 7)
Fruits are light brown in color and have feather-like hairs for wind dispersal. (Figure 8)

Similar species:

Horseweed or Marestail (Conyza canadensis)
Leaves have toothed margins and short petioles.
Not a perennial

Fact sheets and references:

Inula Pest Alert- National Plant Board
http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/www.aphis.usda.gov/npb/inuladetail-1.html

Guide for Identification of Inula britannica
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project http://massnrc.org/pests/linkeddocuments/inulahandout.pdf

Inula, British elecampane - Inula britannica From: MSU Extension Bulletin E-2875, "Identification and management of Inula britannica in Michigan nurseries"
Michigan State University Extension Bulletins can be ordered for $0.50 from the MSU extension bulletin office.
http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/viewitem.cfm?INVKEY=E2875

USDA Plants Database-Inula britannica citation
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=INBR

Inula britannica L. An Aggressive Weed Alert
Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-1227
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1227/ANR-1227.pdf

Oregon Invasive Species Action Plan - 2005
Includes note about discovery of Inula in Oregon at a lily farm in 2002 (p. 6).
http://www.oregon.gov/OISC/docs/pdf/oisc_plan6_05.pdf

Rob Richardson, Michigan State University, personal communication, December 2003.

last reviewed February 25, 2008


Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.