Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) is a plant belonging to the sunflower (Asteraceae) family. It is a perennial, polycarpic plant, meaning that it lives and flowers for several years, produces more than one stem and then dies. It was accidentally introduced into North America from Western, Central and Eastern Europe in the later 1800s in contaminated alfalfa and clover seed and in soil used for ship ballast. It was present on Vancouver Island as early as 1893. Before it was considered a serious weed, it was spread in domestic hay and through human activities.
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