Goatsrue (Galega officinalis)


Common names:

Goatsrue, American garden rue, catgut, devil’s shoestring, rabbit-pea, Virginia pea, professor weed

Scientific Name:

Galega officinalis


Goatsrue is a perennial herbaceous plant, 2-6 feet tall, with hollow stems and alternate, pinnately compound leaves of 13-21 odd-numbered leaflets. Flowers resemble peas and vary from peach to purple to white. It can produce dense stands. The flowers are pea-like and white to bluish lilac to reddish purple. They are found clustered at the end of stems or in leaf axils.

Life cycle:


Height of mature plants

2-6 feet

Flower color:

White, Blue

Bloom time:

Flowers from June to October.


It closely resembles wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota) and care should be taken to properly identify it before any control measures are taken.


Goatsrue can form monotypic stands in wetlands and marshes, as well as invading cropland, irrigation ditches, pastures, fence lines, and roadways. Prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.


Goatsrue can displace wetland vegetation, pushing out native plants and reducing food and nesting resources for wildlife. It also contains poisonous alkaloids that can be fatal to humans, sheep and cattle.

Noxious Weed Listing:


Middle East


Oregon Noxious Weed Profile
Invasive.org profile
CABI Invasive Species Compendium


WeedWise Program