Dysphania botrys (Jerusalem Oak)

Plant Info
Also known as: Sticky Goosefoot, Feather Geranium
Family:Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; dry disturbed soil; roadsides, railroads, gravel pits, waste places
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:4 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: spike

[photo of flower clusters] Numerous small, tightly packed, spike-like clusters at the top of the stem and arising from the upper leaf axils. Flowers lack petals, have 1 to 3 yellow stamens and an oval, green ovary with a 2-parted style at the tip.

[close-up of clusters] Cupping the flower is a green calyx with 5 lobes .7 to 1.1 mm long. Bracts are leaf-like but may be absent especially on the upper part of the stem. The calyx and stalks are densely covered in sticky, glandular hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaf] Leaves are alternate, ½ to 1½ inches long, ¼ to 1 inch wide, egg-shaped to oblong in outline, with 1 to a few rounded to angular lobes on each side, the lobes sometimes further lobed or shallowly toothed, the leaf tip usually rounded, the base wedge-shaped, on a stalk up to 1 inch long. Stems are unbranched or branched from the base, erect to ascending, and ridged. Leaves, stalks and stems are all covered in sticky, glandular hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed_without_plume

[close-up of maturing fruit] Fruit is a dry seed enclosed in the persistent ovary shell (pericarp) that matures from green to blackish and loosely wraps the seed. The persistent calyx mostly covers the fruit at maturity. Seeds are flattened oval to round, up to .8 mm long.


Jerusalem Oak is an uncommon annual found mostly in disturbed soils such as gravel pits, roadsides, railroads, empty lots, and the occasional garden. It is distinguished from related Chenopodium species by the pinnately lobed leaves and abundant sticky, glandular hairs. Only recorded 9 times in Minnesota and only 3 times since 2005, it is likely under-reported in the state. Ours was a chance encounter while exploring a gravel pit in eastern Lake County.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Lake County. Maturing fruit by Stefan.lefnaer, via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC BY-SA 4.0


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: gary - Carlton County
on: 2021-04-06 18:06:59

This plant showed up after 2002 when I was tearing out an old wooden deck. The seeds must have been dormant in the soil under the deck. Now a few plants come up every year by the house.

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