Syrian bean-caper – Zygophyllum fabago

Weed Seed - Syrian bean-caper (Zygophyllum fabago)

Syrian bean-caper is an invasive plant that dominates dry habitats such as rangelands and grasslands. It reduces native biodiversity by forming dense patches that compete with native plants for water and space. Livestock will not eat Syrian bean-caper. Syrian bean-caper is difficult to control with herbicides and is drought tolerant.

Where it's found

Syrian bean-caper has not been found in Canada. It is native to the Mediterranean region and central Asia. It was introduced into Australia and southern Europe, and has been reported in several states in the United States. It is found in dry rangelands, grasslands and disturbed sites, such as roadsides, corrals and gravel pits.

What it looks like

Syrian bean-caper is a bushy plant with leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season. It is a perennial that acts as an annual in regions with cold winters. Plants have thick, fleshy, waxy leaves, and can grow up to 1 m tall. Flowers have five petals varying in colour from white to cream. The fruit is a capsule containing five seeds.

How it spreads

People plant Syrian bean-caper as a medicinal herb and caper substitute. Syrian bean-caper is usually spread by seed, and can generate new plants from pieces of its roots. It can also be spread by farm machinery.

Legislation

Syrian bean-caper is regulated as a pest in Canada under the Plant Protection Act. It is also listed as a prohibited noxious weed on the Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act. Importation and domestic movement of regulated plants and their propagative parts is prohibited.

What you can do about it

  • Avoid planting invasive plants in your garden.
  • Use clean, high-quality seed that is certified if possible.
  • Ensure machinery, vehicles and tools are free of soil and plant parts before moving them from one area to another.
  • Contact your local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) office if you suspect you have found this invasive plant. The CFIA will follow up and determine if further action is needed.

To find out more, visit www.inspection.gc.ca/invasive.

Syrian bean-caper flower
Syrian bean-caper flower
Jan de Laet (PlantSystematics.org)
Syrian bean-caper growing in a field
Syrian bean-caper growing in a field
Jan de Laet (PlantSystematics.org)
Syrian bean-caper leaves and fruit
Syrian bean-caper leaves and fruit
Jan de Laet (PlantSystematics.org)
Syrian bean-caper plant
Syrian bean-caper plant
California Department of Food and Agriculture Archive (Bugwood.org)
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