hoary alyssum

Berteroa incana


Family: Brassicaceae

Weed Class: B

Year Listed: 2004

Native to: Europe and Asia

Toxic: livestock

Other Legal Listings:

additional photos



Why is it a noxious weed?

It is noted to invade pastures, out-compete beneficial plants and quickly spread through stressed areas. It has been noted for animal poisoning and potentially cause death. Livestock are known to become intoxicated after eating green or dried plants.

How would I identify it?

General Description: Hoary alyssum is an upright annual, biennial or short-lived perennial herb growing about 1 to 3.5 feet tall. Plants are covered in stellate hairs causing it to look silvery-gray in color.

Flower Description: Flowers are in simple or branched clusters (racemes) and bloom from the bottom up. Flower petals white, two times longer than sepals and are deeply cleft. Each flower has 6 stamens.

Leaf Description: Plants have basal and stem leaves. Basal leaves are oblanceolate, 0.75 to 2 inches long by 0.2 to 0.4 inches wide, and have smooth margins. Leaves gradually reduce in size moving up the stem with alternate leaf arrangement.

Stem Description: Stems are generally unbranched near base and branched above.

Fruit/Seed Description: Seeds are in somewhat inflated pod-like structures called silicles that are oval shaped and around 0.25 inches long. Seeds are round, brown and have narrowly winged margins.

May be confused with:

How does it reproduce?

Hoary alyssum reproduces by seed.

Where does it grow?

Hoary alyssum adapted to dry conditions on sandy or gravelly soils. It is found in overgrazed pastures, stressed meadows, roadsides and waste areas. It is increasingly becoming a problem in the Northeast section of the state. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of hoary alyssum in Washington.

How do I control it?

General Control Strategy

Well-maintained pastures provide suppression of hoary alyssum through competition.

Mechanical Control

Small invasions of hoary alyssum can be dug out or hand-pulled. Areas should be surveyed for returning plants and pulled when necessary. Mowing plants can also prevent seed production.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.


For more information

See our postcard for early detection information about hoary alyssum.
See our Written Findings for more information about hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana).
Treatment options for hoary alyssum from the book "Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States"

Additional Photos



Hoary alyssum flowers


Hoary alyssum rosette of basal leaves


Hoary alyssum flowers and developing fruits


Hoary alyssum stem and leaves


Hoary alyssum infestation


Hoary alyssum seed pods and seeds


Hoary alyssum flowering stem


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