Galega officinalis

Goat's rue

Family: Fabaceae

Origin: Eurasia

Goat's rue growing wild.
Grows into dense clumps with tall stems which die back during autumn.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial, clumping herb < 1 m tall. Leaves are pinnate and < 22 cm long. Flowers are pea-like, purple/white and borne in spikes. Seed pods are < 4 cm long.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell goat's rue within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant goat's rue within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any goat's rue on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Riverbeds, riparian margins, pasture, roadsides, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by explosive dehiscence, gravity and water. Human-mediated dispersal through movement of contaminated soil and gravel.

Impact on environment

Toxic to livestock. Potential to act as nitrogen fixer and compete with native plant species.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant. For infestations amongst desirable species - foliar spray with 40ml clopyralid per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant (not for use in home gardens).

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of goat's rue flowers.
Flowers are pea like and up to 13 mm.
Photo credit: Ulf Eliasson
Goat's rue growing on the sandy ground.
Goat’s Rue is a perennial, woody herb growing up to 1m tall.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos
Stalks of goat's rue growing in a field.
Flowers are lilac or pink and grow in bunches on spikes of about 30 cm.
Photo credit: USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ,
Man standing next to a large clump of goats rue.
Toxic to livestock.
Goats rue on a table top with root system.
Goats rue is a hairless perennial with an annual growth habit.