Galinsoga quadriradiata (Shaggy Soldier)

Plant Info
Also known as: Hairy galinsoga, Quick Weed, Peruvian Daisy
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil, fields, along roads,
Bloom season:June - October
Plant height:6 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

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flowers are at the end of hairy stalks arising from the leaf axils in the upper plant and at the tips of branching stems. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across with 4 to 8 (usually 5) white rays (petals), each notched in 3 parts and about as wide as long. The center disk flowers are golden yellow.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 2½ inches long and 2 inches wide, coarsely toothed, sparsely to densely hairy, with a pointed tip and somewhat rounded or tapering base, oppositely attached. There are 3 distinct veins radiating from the base of the leaf. Leaf stalks are up to 1½ inches long near the base of the plant; becoming shorter as leaves ascend the stem; leaves in the upper plant are stalkless or nearly so. Stems are densely hairy and heavily branched.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

Both the ray and disk flowers produce a dry seed, with 5 or more narrow scales attached at the tip, each scale fringed around the edges and with an awn at the tip.


Shaggy Soldier is a weedy plant that may grow erect or sprawling. The plants in most of these photos were found coming up through cracks in the pavement along the side of the road. It is similar to the related Small-flowered Galinsoga (Galinsoga parviflora), which is less hairy overall, has smaller white rays on the flowers, and the seed scales lack the awn at the tip.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


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

Posted by: Meghan - Roseville (Ramsey County)
on: 2010-01-21 14:33:03

Appeared in large clumps in my backyard this past summer (2009); we'd done a lot of digging as the first phase of some landscaping work, and the area it appeared in was freshly dug earth. Galinsoga ciliata is a scientific synonym - that confused me for a bit...

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2010-01-21 16:39:46

Yes, it's not just the common names that get confusing... many species go by multiple scientific names as well. In the case of shaggy soldier, other synonyms are G. aristulata, G. bicolorata and G. caracasana. G. quadriradiata is the accepted name in "Flora of North America" (see, which is our definitive reference.

Posted by: Jeff - Stillwtaer,MN
on: 2011-07-23 12:40:41

I started out with tilling my lawn into a garden 10 years ago. The first couple of years I was getting your typical weeds like any gardener. Then in one year I had 30 cubic yards of dirt brought in and I got my hands on free manure,not sure from what animal. I know they do have donkeys and goats. So I am not sure of the two it came from.My garden was a field of green by the middle of summer and I couldn't keep up to this weed. It took everything over. Its the shaggy soldier(Galinsoga quadriradiata). I used round twice last fall and sprayed my whole garden. This year when they got 8-10 inches tall, one could not see any dirt it was so bad, I sparyed round up again,they all died. A few more came up about 4 inches and alot more are about 1/2 inch tall so I sprayd them again on 7-18-11. This is the only year I didn't till my garden. What can i do to get rid of this weed. Thank You, Jeff Mendenhall

Posted by: Robyn - Litchfield
on: 2011-09-03 20:27:20

These appeared across the street from me in town after the city had dug up the ground to work on the city sewer lines.

Posted by: Jane - Richfield Community Garden
on: 2015-06-13 13:29:47

These were a big problem a few years ago at the Richfield Community Garden plots by the airport.

Posted by: Daniel - Staples
on: 2016-06-14 20:29:39

There is a large amount of this at "Living Legacy Gardens" in Staples MN. The only good thing I can say is it pulls easily!

Posted by: Lynelle B - East of MilleLacs Lake
on: 2017-08-28 16:05:01

I have to find out how to get rid of the shaggy soldier plant.My garden is full of this and some plants are molding with so many plants to hold the moisture and they don't get the air. I feel like the man from Stillwater. I would appreciate your help. Thanks.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-08-28 16:27:51

Lynelle, it's an annual so the only way to get rid of it for good is to keep pulling it out and preventing it from producing more seed. You'll have to keep at it until the existing seed bank is depleted.

Posted by: Lynelle Bartelma - McGrath
on: 2018-08-24 14:16:44

Since roundup is causing cancer is there any other spray to use instead to kill these Hairy galinsoga. We can't have a garden until this stuf is gone.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-08-24 21:45:31

Lynelle, this species is an annual so Round-up isn't really an appropriate treatment. Your biggest problem is the seed bank. Pulling this year's plants will prevent it from producing more seed. Repeat until the seed bank is depleted.

Posted by: Joy L Wrolson - Alexandria
on: 2019-07-16 20:47:03

Does this plant burn? I have tried pulling it but it (or a look alike)has given me blisters similar to nettles. the needle like filaments stick to my skin as well.

Posted by: gary - Mahtowa in Carlton County
on: 2020-09-10 19:12:48

A few plants growing by TJ's grocery store in sand and gravel.

Posted by: Rachael K - Sauk Centre
on: 2021-10-09 22:21:51

I have it thick in my garden, and I can see it in the neighbor's too. Tilling took care of a lot of it early on (and was the quickest solution I've found), though new plants quickly pop up to replace them. I've been hand-pulling where I can't till.

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