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Report an Invasive Species

Africa rue

Africa rue

Africa rue

(Peganum harmala)

Priority: -  Prevent

Tags: Agricultural | Medicinal | 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).