Russian Knapweed

Acroptilon repens

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(also known as: Centaurea repens, Rhaponticum repens)


Plants up to 3 ft., stems branched at base, striate, covered with downy-white hairs. Leaves of new shoots alternate, broadly lanceolate, toothed, somewhat whitish underneath. Flowers numerous, tubular, rose to purple or blue, on the ends of leafy branches. Flowers, June – August.


Grows on clay, sandy or rocky prairies; on saline soils; or clay, rocky or sandy shores of lakes and rivers. Also thrives in pastures, crops, roadsides, waste places and rangeland.

Location in Nebraska

Found in a few counties of Eastern and Western Nebraska.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Introduced from Asia. Reproducing by roots, rhizomes and seeds. Roots from a recently established plant expand rapidly and may cover up to 12 square yards in two growing seasons.


Forms dense, single species stands over time due to competition and allelopathy; is toxic to horses.