Fact Sheets


Crupina vulgaris Cass.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Centaurea crupina L.

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Common crupina
(English) (GC 2016)

Crupine (French) (GC 2016)

Bearded creeper (English) (FNA 1993+)

Starry scabious (English) (CABI 2020)

Crupine vulgaire (French) (CABI 2020)

  • Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris); achenes

  • Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris); achenes

  • Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris); achene

  • Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris); achene, top-down view

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 1: Prohibited Noxious Weed Seeds
  • List of Pests Regulated by Canada
  • USA Federal Noxious Weed List
  • USA Federal Noxious Weed Seed List

Regulation Notes:

Prohibited Noxious, Class 1 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order (2016) under the Seeds Act. All imported and domestic seed must be free of Prohibited Noxious weed seeds.


Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to northern Africa, Europe and western Asia. Introduced to the western United States and Massachusetts (USDA-ARS 2020). Absent from Canada (Brouillet et al. 2010+).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Pastures, rangelands, grasslands, and open woodlands with steep slopes and dry, rocky soils (CABI 2020). Does not grow in fields cultivated by mechanical equipment (Garnatje et al. 2002).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:

Winter annual

Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Crupina vulgaris was first discovered in Idaho in 1969 and had infested 9300 hectares by 1981. It was later encountered in the western states of Washington, Oregon and California, where it has since invaded over 26,000 hectares (Thill et al. 1999). The large, heavy seeds are believed to have entered the United States by ship ballast, packing materials, or sheep activity for short distance migration (Garnatje et al. 2003).

Plants from different locations in the United States were observed to have different morphology and flowering times. Through genetic testing, it was found the populations were likely from separate invasion events, all originating in Spain (Garnatje et al. 2002).

This species prefers well-drained soils and does not tolerate disturbance. Each plant produces on average 23 seeds in a season, leading to a seed production of 1000 seeds per square metre for a typical population (Thill et al. 1999). The seeds are not long-lived, persisting in the seed bank for only 2 years (Zamora and Thill 1989).


Field of Crupina vulgaris (USDA APHIS PPQ – Oxford, North Carolina , USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org)



  • Achene


    • Achene length*: 3.4 – 5.3 mm; width: 2.6 – 3.4 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 20 achenes in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Wedge shaped achene with a rounded narrow end and truncate wide end bearing a pappus, cylindrical in 3 dimensions

    Surface Texture

    • Achene is smooth with a band of dense hairs around the wide end


    • Dull brown coloured achene, with a shiny dark brown narrow end and a band of dense yellow hairs at wide end
    • Immature achenes are light brown or straw yellow

    Other Features


    • Persistent pappus of stiff, brown bristles in several series
    • Pappus length: 5.0 – 10.0 mm (FNA 1993+)
    • Immature achenes have reddish-brown bristles

    Achene end with pappus

    • The style remnant at the top of the fruit is surrounded by a funnel shaped structure

    Achene end without pappus

    • Small, round area of dull white tissue is at the tip of the narrow end
  • Seed


    • Seed size similar to achene size


    • Seed is wedge shaped

    Surface Texture

    • Seed surface is smooth


    • Seed colour is orange

    Other Features

    • Seed coat thin, whitish, adhering to the fruit wall
    • The seed fills the achene with a small space at the narrow end
  • Embryo


    • Embryo fills the seed


    • Embryo is simple folded shape, axial position


    • Endosperm absent, nutritive tissue stored in the cotyledons

    Other Features

    • Cotyledons are oily and soft-textured

Identification Tips


The large achene size compared to many other achenes, wedge shape, brown colour and persistent pappus of thin, brown bristles are distinctive features of this species.

Additional Botany Information



  • Flower heads cylindrical or oval shaped, flowers purple (FNA 1993+)
  • Flower heads generally have 2 fertile flowers and 3 sterile flowers, producing 1 or 2 achenes at maturity (CABI 2020)

Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Crupina crupinastrum (Moris) Vis. (southern crupina )

C. crupinastrum achenes are more narrow (length*: 3.7 – 4.4 mm; width: 1.9 – 2.7 mm), medium brown coloured, laterally compressed at the narrow end. The spot of white tissue at the narrow end of the achene is larger compared to C. vulgaris.

*Note: minimum and maximum of 10 achenes in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)

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Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S. J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed November 23, 2020.

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). 2020. Invasive Species Compendium, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/journal/cabicompendium Accessed November 23, 2020.

Flora of North America (FNA) Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico [Online]. 22+ vols. New York and Oxford.  http://beta.floranorthamerica.org. Accessed December 29, 2022.

Garnatje, T., Vilatersana R., Roché, C.T., Garcia-Jacas, N., Susanna A. and Thill, D. C. 2002. Multiple introductions from the Iberian peninsula are responsible for invasion of Crupina vulgaris in western North America. New Phytologist 154: 419-428.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/3149965 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.  https://www.idseed.org/authors/details/method_for_seed_size_measurement.html

Thill, D. C., Roché, C. T. and Zamora, D. L. 1999. Common Crupina. in: Sheley, R. L. and Petroff, J. K., eds, Biology and Management of Noxious Rangeland Weeds. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR. 189-201 pp.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2020. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed November 23, 2020.

Zamora, D.L. and Thill, D.C. 1989. Seed bank longevity of common crupina (Crupina vulgaris) in natural populations. Weed Technology 3: 166-169.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle

Canadian Food Inspection Agency