spotted knapweed USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: CESTM
Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos (Gugler) Hayek
Synonym(s): bushy knapweed

Spotted knapweed is an herbaceous biennial or perennial plant that invades open areas throughout most of the United States. Its name is derived from the black margins of the flower bract tips which give the flower heads a spotted look. A basal rosette of deeply lobed leaves is produced the first year. Rosette leaves are deeply lobed, petiolate and approximately 8 in. (20 cm) long. Flowering stems are 2/3- 4 ft. (0.2-1.2 m) tall and branched. Stem leaves are alternate and may be slightly lobed or linear. Leaves become smaller and less lobed toward the apex. Flowering occurs in the early summer. Flowers are purple to pink in color and occur on small flower heads. Spotted knapweed invades a wide variety of habitats including pastures, open forests, prairies, meadows, old fields, and disturbed areas. It displaces native vegetation and reduces the forage potential for wildlife and livestock. Spotted knapweed is native to Europe and western Asia. It was accidentally introduced into North America in contaminated alfalfa and clover seed in the late 1800s.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources