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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > Is this plant a weed? > Broadleaf Weeds > Upright > Spotted Knapweed

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Spotted Knapweed

Centaurea maculosa Lam.

  • Image: broadleaf Plantain
  • Image: broadleaf Plantain
  • Image: broadleaf Plantain

Found in:

  • Prairie plantings and low-maintenance turf areas
  • Does well in poor, dry and sandy soils


  • Biennial or short-lived perennial
  • Grows as a low basal rosette of foliage the first year
  • Subsequent years it grows into a bushy 2-3’ tall plant
  • Leaves are narrow, fernlike with tiny hairs and arise alternately along stem
  • Leaves are covered with translucent dots
  • Bears many small, pinkish-purple, thistle-like flowers June through Aug
  • Stout taproot


Plants that look similar:

  • Cornflower (Bachelor’s buttons)

More information and control options for Spotted Knapweed

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