T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Galega officinalis (Goat's Rue)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Papilionoideae
Genus: Galega
Species: G. officinalis
Binomial name: Galega officinalis
Common names: Goat's Rue, Galega, French lilac, French finch, Italian fitch, Professor-weed

Galega officinalis is a legume (Pea family) that is native to the Middle East but is now naturalised in many countries. In New Zealand, it is common as a pest plant mostly in the floodplain of the Manawatu River but it is slowly spreading by in river shingle that used for roads in the southern North Island. It can be found growing in wastelands, damp pastures, roadsides, riverbeds, swamp areas and riverbeds. Galega officinalis a problem as each plant can produce thousands of long-lived seeds that are spread by water movement and soil movement. It is very hardy and spreads rapidly, taking over large areas. It can be poisonous to cattle and sheep when the plant is flowering or has pods.

Galega officinalis grows up to 2m tall with a stem that is quite glabrous. It has unequal pinnate leaves that have small, bright green, oval-lanceolate shaped leaflets that are 2-5cm long. They are arranged in 4-9 pairs along stems, They are often sharp-pointed, with entire margins. Young Galega officinalis plants are soft and spindly when young, but they grow into dense clumps with tall stems that die back during autumn.
During December to May pea-like flowers develop. They are up to 13 mm long and they are borne on many-flowered spikes up to 30 cm long, they are usually pinkish-blue but sometimes deep pink, white, or a pale purplish colour.
Flowers are followed by cylindrical, glabrous, erect, seed pods. They have parallel veins and contain many seeds. When ripe the pods explode firing out the seeds in all directions. 


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0