Introduced Pests Outreach Project


(Click on an image below to see the captioned full-size version)
Growth habit of goatsrue
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9

Scientific Name: Galega officinalis
Common Names: Goatsrue, Goat’s rue, Professor weed

Cropland, water-ways, pastures, fencelines, roadways, and wet, marshy areas

Key ID Features
Perennial legume that ranges from 2-6 feet in height. (Figure 1)
Alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 6-10 pairs of leaflets (1- 5cm long). Tip of each leaflet has a small hair-like appendage. (Figure 2)
Stipules (leaf-like appendage at the base of each leaf) are arrowhead shaped. (Figure 3)
Stems are hollow and cylindrical.
Purple to white, pea-like flowers are borne in terminal or axillary racemes containing 20-50 flowers. Plant blooms from June throughout the growing season. (Figure 4)
Seed pods are narrow and about 1 inch long. (Figure 5)
Seeds are dull yellow, bean shaped and approximately 2.5-3mm long. (Figure 6)

Similar species:

Wild Licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota)
Stems are solid.
Seed pods are bur-like with hooked bristles. (Figure 7)
Mature leaves have glandular dots.
Vetches (Vicia spp.)
Trailing and vine-like
Terminal leaf modified into a twining tendril.
Mature pods are flat. (Figure 8)
Crown vetch (Coronilla varia)
Trailing and vine-like
Flowers arranged in an umbel (all flowers radiate from a central point). (Figure 9)

Fact sheets and references:
Goatsrue wanted poster from Massachusetts

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Profile for Galega officinalis L.

Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board: Goatsrue

King County Noxious Weed Program Pest Alert for Goatsrue

Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States: Goatsrue

Wanted Poster by the Nevada Weeds Project

last reviewed December 30, 2014

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
The Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is maintained by staff at the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources. 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 (USDA APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.