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Stinking Fleabane Dittrichia graveolens

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Cupularia graveolens
  • Erigeron graveolens
  • Inula graveolens
Phonetic Spelling
dit-TRIK-ee-uh grav-ee-OH-lens
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Stinkwort is an annual weed native to portions of Europe to the Western Himalayan. It has spread rampantly outside of its native range, specifically in California and Australia. It has been spotted in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and South Carolina.

The weed has strong-smelling oil, which it excretes from the glands in its foliage and stems. The sticky leaves and stems may cause contact dermatitis. Protective gloves and clothing should be worn when handling this weed. Stinkwort may also cause illness and death to livestock and horses. The flowers have hairy fruits with tufts of fine bristles that are barbed.  When ingested by livestock, they may puncture the stomach, intestines, and bowels. The oil also taints the taste of the meat and milk products. 

Stinkwort is also known as Camphor Inula, Cape Khakiweed, and Stinking Fleabane. It is a member of the Asteraceae family. The genus name, Dittrichia, is named in honor of a German botanist, Manfred Dittrich. The species name, graveolens, is Latin and means "heavy smelling."

The plant is erect, multi-branched, conical shaped, and may grow over 3 feet tall. The basal leaves are in the form of a rosette, and the leaves on the stem are smaller and alternate. The small daisy-like flowers emerge in the fall. The seeds are oval with fine hairs and topped with a layer of bristles. The seeds germinate in the winter and spring and are dispersed by the wind, water, or attaching to animals, clothing, or equipment.

Stinkwort has an unusual life cycle for an annual. The plant appears in May and develops branches and leaves from June to September. The flower and seeds are produced from September to December. 

Agricultural areas are threatened by this weed. It may be found along roadsides, grazing lands, wastelands, or disturbed sites. The challenge of controlling Stinkwort is using the proper management tools at the right time. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#cattle problems#annual weed#malodorus#contact dermatitis
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#cattle problems#annual weed#malodorus#contact dermatitis
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dittrichia
    Species:
    graveolens
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The leaves and stems are used externally to treat lice in chickens. The species is known for its essential oils.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to West Himalaya
    Distribution:
    Native: Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, Pakistan, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Turkey, West Himalaya, and Yugoslavia Introduced: Czechoslovakia, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, New Zealand North, United States--CA, CT, NJ, NY, and SC
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The seed or achene is light brown, oval, and about 2mm long. They are covered with hairs and topped with a ring of numerous layers of hairs or bristles. The seeds are produced from September to December.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers appear late summer to early winter. Single, small yellow flower heads appear at the tips of branches or in the upper leaf forks. The flower head is about 0.2 to 0.3 inches in diameter. It has 6-12 yellow petal rays on the outer edge and yellow-reddish disk florets in the center. The flower is surrounded by 2 rows of narrow green bracts. The bracts are covered with sticky hairs.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Denticulate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are lanceolate, narrow in shape, and form a basal rosette. The basal leaves are up to 4 inches long and finely toothed. The stem leaves are smaller (0.5 to 2 inches) with entire margins and appear alternate. The foliage has sticky hairs covered with resin and emits a strong camphor-like odor.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Description:
    The stem is rigid, branched, erect, and covered with sticky hairs. The base of the stem is slightly woody. The stem usually measures 11-24 inches and sometimes up to 39 inches.
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Malodorous
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Human contact with the oils of the leaves and stems may cause contact dermatitis.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Contains sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, and aromatic compounds. Very little data available.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Stems