Spotted knapweed (Centaure amaculosa Lam. = C. biebersteinii DC.) and diffuse knapweed (C.diffusa Lam.) are two of Nebraska’s seven noxious weeds. They are also noxious in at least 17 other states. These are closely related species that are well adapted to a variety of habitats including open forests, rangelands and pastures, Conservation Reserve Program lands, roadsides, and ditch banks. Centaurea is a large genus of over 400 species, 32 of which are common weeds of the United States and several of which [e.g., yellowstar thistle, C. solstitalis L, and Russian knapweed, C. repens L. =Acroptilon repens (L.) DC.] have been identified officially as noxious weeds in nearby western states. Other Centaurea species areused as ornamentals. The knapweeds were introduced to the United States from the grasslands of southeastern Europe and Asia. Spotted knapweed now infests more than seven million acres and diffuse knapweed more than three million acres of rangeland and pastures in the western United States.
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