Jerusalem oak

Identification & Biology
Alias' : Jerusalem oak goosefoot, sticky goosefoot, feathered geranium, green magic
Latin Name : Dysphania botrys
Category : Terrestrial Plants
Description :
  • Summer annual  
  • Medium to light green, strongly scented leaves 
  • Oak-shaped leaves are oval to oblong in outline, and covered with short hairs 
  • Flowers are inconspicuous, tiny in the axils of leaves, and have no petals 
  • Multiple stems branch upright from the base 


Jerusalem oak is a summer annual in the Goosefoot family and reproduces primarily by seed. It produces small, inconspicuous flowers from June to September, and is pollinated by wind. Jerusalem oak leaves are sometimes used for flavoring in cooking.  


 Native to the Mediterranean, Jerusalem oak prefers moist, well drained, fertile soils with lots of sun. It is commonly found along roads, trails, gravel pits, gravel-bed river floodplains and other disturbed areas. It was first identified in the Okanagan-Similkameen in the early 2000s, but now appears widespread across the region. Its primary pathway of spread appears to be in contaminated gravel. 

Impact & Risks
  • Jerusalem oak produces thousands of tiny seeds that are easily dispersed by wind and human activities. 
  • It outcompetes native vegetation and can dominate areas with suitable growing conditions. 
  • It can reduce available forage and degrade wildlife habitat.   
Prevention & Mitigation

The most effective way to ensure that your lands do not become infested with Jerusalem oak is by prevention. Here are some recommendations to prevent Jerusalem oak from invading your property: 

  • Maintain your crops and natural lands in a healthy, vigorous condition to ensure a competitive plant community. 
  • Regularly patrol your property for Jerusalem oak and immediately control or remove infestations before seed set.  
  • Cooperate with adjacent landowners and encourage them to control Jerusalem oak. 
  • Immediately re-vegetate disturbed, bare soils with a suitable seed mixture that provides dense, early colonization to prevent weed invasion.  
  • Ensure soil, gravel and fill are not contaminated. Do not move contaminated soils to a new area.  
  • Avoid unloading, parking or storing equipment and vehicles in infested areas.  
Treatment & Disposal
  • Small infestations can be hand-pulled or mowed before they go to seed.  
  • If the plant has already gone to seed, then removed plants must be carefully bagged and taken to a landfill for burial.  
  • Removal of plants should be integrated with suitable revegetation techniques to prevent new infestations.  
  • Chemical control is also an option. Before applying herbicides, read the label for full use and precautionary instructions.  
  • For further information on the selection and application of chemicals to protect your crop, contact AgriService BC at 1-888-221-7141 or email  
  • There are currently no biocontrol agents (natural insect enemies) available for use in BC.  
Okanagan Distribution

Priority Level Definitions

Watch For - Poses a significant threat (very high risk) and does NOT presently occur in the region OR is relatively new to the region and is very limited in extent.
High - High risk/impact; limited population with significant potential to spread in the region.
Medium - Medium risk/impact; limited distribution – broader population distribution with potential to spread further in a region.
Low - Low risk/impact; may be widespread or not, may be of concern in specific situations with certain high values – e.g. specific agriculture crops. Some species may be treated primarily with biological control agents.