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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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What does it look like?

Goatsrue is a bit unusual for a member of the pea family in having relatively tall (3 to 4 feet) hollow stems. These stems set it apart (literally!) from its viney vetch and wild pea cousins. When not in flower, the erect and relatively straight and hollow stems of last year’s plants distinguish goatsrue from almost everything else.

hollow stem of goatsrue

During the spring and summer, goatsrue has compound leaves, each with several leaflets along the sides and one at the end. Leaflets often have a small fleshy point, though weather and conditions can cause them to break down. Suspicious plants with tendrils are NOT goatsrue. Flowers are in a range of purples, or sometimes white.

goatsrue leaves and blooms

Stands of goatsrue can be sizable because each plant is capable of producing large numbers of seed (around 15,000) which can survive up to 30 years in the soil. Like many members of the pea family, goatsrue seeds form in pods which dry late in the summer. Sometime the pods explode (like Scots broom), but more often the pods appear to twist apart.

goatsrue pods