Noxious Weed Found in Smethport Area, Potentially Harmful to Livestock

Jun 18, 2010, 11:35 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Local Landowners Encouraged to Identify and Cut Plants, Contact Hotline

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Goatsrue, a noxious weed that was recently discovered in Smethport, McKean County, may be fatal to sheep and cattle, but poses no human health threat, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.

Redding said the main infestation is localized to a two-mile radius of Smethport Borough, Keating Township and adjoining municipalities, and is related to the dredging of Hamlin Lake and the distribution of the fill material to local properties. Small isolated populations of the weed have been found elsewhere in McKean County and in Cameron, Elk and Potter counties.

A legume, goatsrue is about 4-5 feet tall at maturity with 8-inch pinnate leaves with smaller leaflets and 20-50 purple to white flowers. Flowering begins in June and each flower produces a one- to two-inch pod with mustard colored seeds.

"The Department of Agriculture has surveyed and identified the infestation and is actively working this summer on eradication," said Redding. "However, we encourage livestock producers and landowners in the Smethport area to protect their animals by becoming familiar with this plant and inspecting their hayfields and pastures."

Redding added that if landowners find any flowering plants, they cut the plants down to ground level to keep them from reseeding. Contact the Agriculture department field technician at 814-414-7680 to report the infestation or leave a message on the toll-free noxious weed hotline at 1-877-464-9333.

Goatsrue grows best in moist areas in full sun. It can be found along irrigated waterways, cropland, pastures, fence lines, roadways and wet, marshy areas.

For more information about goatsrue, including a brochure with pictures of the plant, visit and search "Goatsrue," or contact Noxious Weed Program Manager Melissa Bravo at 717-787-7204.  

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture