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Africa Rue

Africa Rue

Africa Rue

(Peganum harmala)

Priority: -  Prevent

Tags: Agricultural | EDRR

Identification and Reproduction


  • African rue is a herbaceous shrub that grows from a woody stem. 
  • Produces multiple shoots and will reach a height of 80 cm. If stems are crushed it will release a foul smell. 
  • Leaves are alternate on the stem, dark green, fleshly and deeply divided. 

  • Flowers are white, five-petaled with green sepals and yellow stamens. Blooms occur between March and October.   


  • Reproduces from seed. Seeds are often dispersed through water and animal transportation. 
  • Can also reproduce vegetatively from its woody stem. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • It often grows in dry areas. 
  • Can withstand high salinity levels. 
  • Commonly found on dry grasslands, roadsides, field edges and degraded pastures. 
  • African rue has not been found in Canada yet. 



  • Can be poisonous to people and livestock. Consumption can cause reduced fertility and abortions. 
  • Plants are also impalatable to livestock. 
  • It can contaminate agricultural seed crops. 


  • Its woody rooting system helps it quickly invade an area. 
  • It also germinates earlier in the growing season than native species.
  • African rue has allelopathic chemical properties that reduce and suppress the growth of native vegetation. 


Prevention is a high priority for this species. 

  • Be sure to maintain and diversify pastures. 
  • Buy and use clean, high-quality seed mixtures. 
  • Clean machinery, vehicles and tools when moving from site to site. 
  • Contact your local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) if you think you have seen this plant. 


For more information check out the CFIA's factsheet on African rue, Peganum harmala

Header photo (Yuriy75).

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