African rue: declared pest

Page last updated: Monday, 20 July 2020 - 2:51pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

African rue (Peganum harmala) is a declared pest in Western Australia (WA). This article describes the nature of the plant with links to requirements land owners/occupiers must adhere to and pest control methods.

Form: shrub — perennial

Status: not present in WA

African rue is a vigorous summer-growing shrubby plant with a persistent root system. It is very drought hardy. It is a native of the Mediterranean region from Spain to North Africa and as far east as India. African rue has become naturalised in North America, parts of New South Wales and South Australia.


Stems: Shrub with stiff branched stems, from 15–60 centimetres high.

Leaves: It has deeply divided bright green succulent leaves arranged alternately on the stems.

Flowers: White flowers about 2.5 centimetres in diameter borne singly amongst the leaves.

Fruit: Flowers into fruits consisting of a three chambered capsule opening at the top. Each chamber contains many seeds.

Seeds: three angled shaped seed (similar to an orange wedge) measuring 2–4.5 x 1.5–3 milimetres. Blackish-red to red in colour.

This plant reproduces from seeds and by suckering. Spread of African rue occurs when seeds are transported by water, or by root fragments transported by machinery during grading and ploughing activities in paddocks.

Agriculture and economic impact

African rue is a drought resistant shrub that competes with native shrubs and grasses for moisture and nutrients affecting pasture production in the rangelands grazing areas. It has a competitive advantage over native plants as it germinates earlier in the spring. This weed is difficult to control once established.

Although unpalatable, it often causes livestock poisonings, especially during drought. Consumption by animals causes reduced fertility and abortions. It is also a known agricultural seed contaminant.

Declared pest category

The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL) contains information on the area(s) in which this pest is declared and the control and keeping categories to which it has been assigned in Western Australia (WA). Search for African rue in WAOL using the scientific name of Peganum harmala.

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons if this pest is found can be sourced through the declared plant requirements link.

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MyPestGuide™ Reporter
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Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080

Control method

Control methods for this declared plant can be found through the African rue control link.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080
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