Diffuse Knapweed

Diffuse Knapweed (tumble knapweed, bushy knapweed) Asteraceae (=Compositae), the aster family

Diffuse KnapweedBACKGROUND: Diffuse knapweed is a native of Eurasia, coming to the U.S. in the early 1900s. It spreads by seed, aided by the tumbling of windblown mature plants, and it grows under a wide range of conditions.

Diffuse KnapweedDESCRIPTION: Diffuse knapweed is an annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial that can grow to a height of 3 feet, with a single, much-branched stem that gives the plant a bushy appearance. Basal leaves are pinnately divided and up to 6 inches long; stem leaves are entire and smaller. Tips of each branch have a 1/3-inch wide, white, or sometimes pinkish flower head that appears from midsummer to fall. Bracts surrounding the flower are yellowish green with a light brown, comblike margin. The upper part of each bract narrows into a short, stiff spine. Seeds are brown to gray in color and are tipped by plumes that fall off at maturity.

DISTRIBUTION: Diffuse knapweed is widespread in the Northwest and in many other states.

CONTROL: Biological control agents include 2 seed head gall flies and a root boring beetle, which have been effective. Herbicides are available for control.

Diffuse Knapweed Distribution Map - Grey Area

© 1999 University of Idaho: Text and photographs for these pages from Idaho’s Noxious Weeds, by Robert H. Callihan and Timothy W. Miller (revised by Don W. Morishita and Larry W. Lass).

Please contact: Ag Publishing, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2240; (208) 882-7982; cking@uidaho.edu; or visit the UI Extension/CALS Publications and Multimedia Catalog website at www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/catalog.asp, for more information about this or other publications.