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African-rue - Peganum harmala

Weed Seed - African-rue (Peganum harmala)

African-rue is persistent, dominant and difficult to control in suitable habitats such as dry rangelands. It is toxic to humans and livestock. Since the plants are unpalatable and toxic, heavily infested rangelands lose much of their forage value.

Where it's found

African-rue has not been found in Canada. It is native to the desert regions of northern Africa, Asia and southern and eastern Europe. Populations introduced into North America are currently concentrated in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. African-rue is found mainly in dry grasslands and saline waste areas, but is also common along roadsides, field edges and in degraded pastures. It prefers disturbed environments.

What it looks like

African-rue is an erect, bushy, perennial, herbaceous plant. It grows 30-80 cm tall. Its leaves are dark green and are about 2-5 cm long. The flowers are white and about 2.5 cm in diameter.

How it spreads

People plant African-rue for medicinal purposes and may unintentionally move seeds and pieces of rootstock with vehicles and machinery. The natural spread of African-rue is primarily by seed—animals disperse the seeds in their droppings after feeding on the plant.

What you can do about it

  • Maintain healthy and diverse pastures.
  • Use clean, high-quality seed that is certified if possible.
  • Ensure machinery, vehicles and tools are free of soil and plant parts before moving them from one area to another.
  • Contact your local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) office if you suspect you have found this invasive plant. The CFIA will follow up and determine if further action is needed.

Learn more about invasive species.

Whole African-rue plant
Whole African-rue plant
Weeds of Field Crops and Pastures
African-rue flowers
African-rue flowers
Weeds of Field Crops and Pastures
Single African-rue flower with leaves
Single African-rue flower with leaves
Attribution: Russ Kleinman
Date modified: