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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Spotted Knapweed
Species Profiles

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed

Scientific name: Centaurea stoebe L. subsp. micranthos (Gugler) Hayek (ITIS)

Synonyms: Centaurea biebersteinii auct., Centaurea maculosa auct. Amer., Centaurea maculosa subsp. micranthos Gugler (basionym)

Common name: Spotted knapweed

Click image to enlarge

Selected Resources

Native To: Europe (Zouhar 2001)

Date of U.S. Introduction: Late 1800s (Zouhar 2001)

Means of Introduction: Accidentally through contaminated seed or ballast (Zouhar 2001)

Impact: Crowds out native species and forage for livestock (Zouhar 2001)

Current U.S. Distribution:

  • Invasive Species Maps
    USDA. FS. Northern Research Station.
    Maps are organized for 43 invasive plant species into five categories: trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, and grasses. Select the desired species to view the distribution information for northern states.
  • Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) - Spotted Knapweed
    University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
    Provides state, county, point and GIS data. Maps can be downloaded and shared.



Selected Resources:

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Fact Sheet: Spotted Knapweed (Jan 2014; PDF | 794 KB)
Alberta Invasive Plants Council (Canada).


Alaska Exotic Plants Information Clearinghouse: Species Biography - Spotted Knapweed (Feb 7, 2011; PDF | 148 KB)
University of Alaska - Anchorage. Alaska Natural Heritage Program.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Spotted Knapweed
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Species Compendium - Centaurea stoebe subsp. micranthos
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Centaurea biebersteinii (herb)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Centaurea biebersteinii DC. (Spotted Knapweed) - Noxious and Nuisance Plant Management Information System (PMIS)
DOD. USACE. Engineer Research and Development Center. Environmental Laboratory.

Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) - Centaurea stoebe
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Biology and Biological Control of Knapweed (Apr 2005, 3rd Ed; PDF | 2.85 MB)
USDA. FS. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Centaurea maculosa
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Spotted Knapweed
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Guide to Weeds in British Columbia - Spotted Knapweed
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries (Canada).

Weed Identification Guide - Spotted Knapweed
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (Canada).


Encycloweedia: Data Sheet - Centaurea genus
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Included on California's noxious weed list; see Encycloweedia: Program Details for additional resources.

Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania: Black, Brown and Spotted Knapweed (PDF | 1.2 MB)
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Class B Noxious Weed: Spotted Knapweed
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.

Best Management Practices: Spotted Knapweed (Feb 2010; PDF | 303 KB)
King County (Washington). Noxious Weed Control Program.

Spotted Knapweed
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Diffuse and Spotted Knapweed
Colorado State University. Cooperative Extension.

Spotted and Diffuse Knapweed - Noxious Weeds of Nebraska (PDF | 1.11 MB)
University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Cooperative Extension.

Introduced Species Summary Project - Spotted Knapweed
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Know Your Knapweeds (PDF | 153 KB)
North Dakota State University. Extension Service.

Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide - Spotted Knapweed
Ohio State University. Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Spotted Knapweed (PDF | 167 KB)
University of Pennsylvania. Morris Arboretum.


Spotted Knapweed
Colorado Weed Management Association.

Weed Identification - Spotted Knapweed
Montana Weed Control Association.

BioBullies - Spotted Knapweed
Natural Biodiversity (Western Pennsylvania).

Spotted Knapweed
Plant Conservation Alliance. Alien Plant Working Group.

Spotted Knapweed - Aliens Among Us
Royal British Columbia Museum (Canada).


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos. [Accessed Mar 22, 2015].

Zouhar, K. 2001. Centaurea maculosa. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.

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Last Modified: Nov 19, 2015
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