Also known as: Japanese coltsfoot, fuki, giant butterbur, giant coltsfoot
At first glance, Japanese butterbur appears to be a tropical beauty and a fantastic groundcover for your back yard. But beauty can be deceiving! Its huge leaves shade out other plants and leaves bare ground when it dies back each year. This can lead to erosion and reduce water quality in our region’s waterways.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||Yes|
|Height:||Up to 6 feet (2 meters)|
|Leaf Description:||Kidney-shaped leaves are very large; each leaf can be up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide! Leaves are green on top and can have woolly hairs on their underside.|
|Fruit & Flower Description:||White or cream-colored flower clump together to form a con-shaped flowerhead. its flowerheads emerge before the leaves. |
It needs both male and female plants to produce seeds, but the plant spreads mostly through underground rhizomesContinuously growing, horizontal underground stems..
|Bloom Time:||March to April|
- Japanese butterbur requires constant moisture and grows best in partially shaded areas including along wet ditches, shady woodlands, creeks, and streams.
- Japanese butterbur’s large leaves can shade out other plants, leaving bare ground, which can result in to erosion.
- It primarily spreads by rhizomes which can grow in all directions. This allows it to spread rapidly.
- It is toxic to humans when consumed excessively.
What you can do about it:
- Please report any Japanese butterbur infestation to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline.
- Gardeners sometimes plant Japanese butterbur in containers to reduce its ability to spread, but this plant is an escape artist! It’s been known to spread in spite of containment.
- Prevention is the best control method. Instead of planting it, consider a native alternative such as native coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus) or Pacific waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes).
- Hand-pulling is an effective way to remove small areas, although you’ll have to continue to monitor the area for at least a few years.
Japanese butterbur looks similar to its relative, common butterbur (Petasites hybridus), which can also be invasive. Common butterbur has pink to purple flowers and the leaves are a smaller, only growing to 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters) across.
Noxious Weed Listing:
|State of Oregon:||Not listed|
|State of Washington:||Monitor|
Download the Japanese Butterbur Best Management Practices Factsheet