Butterbur

Butterbur

Also called Butterfly Dock or Pestilence Wort 
(Petasites hybridus)
*Detected in Michigan*

 

Report this species:

Use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool 

- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone - http://www.misin.msu.edu/tools/apps/#home

 

Woman in a patch of butterbur in the woods

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A red butterbur stalk with pink flowers.

William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org

White, tufted seeds of butterbur on a stalk

William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org

Identification:

  • Perennial, herbaceous flowering plant grows to 6 feet
  • Simple, round to heart-shaped leaves are 1-2 feet across, with dense hairs on the underside
  • Single leaves grown on hollow, ridged, 3-4 foot stems somewhat similar in appearance to rhubarb
  • Flowers are pink to purple and grow on a spike that emerges before foliage in spring
  • Fruit and seeds appear in a white, flower-like tuft

‚ÄčHabitat: Found in shaded areas with moist soil, including river banks, shorelines, wetland edges, forested floodplains and roadside ditches.

Native Range: Europe, Russia and Turkey

U. S. Distribution:  New York to Ohio; Illinois, Michigan and Washington

Local Concern: Butterbur spreads easily by rhizomes or rhizome fragments. Large leaves shade out other vegetation, leaving bare earth beneath.  

MORE INFORMATION:

Butterbur Invasive Species Alert - Printable PDF