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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stinkwort is rapidly expanding its range in California


Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) is a Mediterranean native that has become a weed in areas of Europe as well as in Australia. This strongly aromatic weed was first reported in California in 1984 in Santa Clara County, and it had spread to 36 of the 58 California counties by 2012. Stinkwort is not palatable to animals, and can be poisonous to livestock and cause contact allergic dermatitis in humans. In California, this weed is found primarily along roadsides. However, the biology of this annual plant suggests that it could also invade open riparian areas and overgrazed rangelands. Stinkwort has an unusual life cycle among annual plants: Unlike most summer or late-season winter annuals, stinkwort flowers and produces seeds from September to December. Such basic biological information is critical to developing timely and effective control strategies for this rapidly expanding weed.

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