Butterbur, a perennial in the Asteraceae family, is a herbaceous plant that invades
shaded areas with moist soil, including river banks, shorelines, wetland edges, forested
floodplains, and roadside ditches.
grows up to 2 feet in height
round to heart-shaped leaves that are 1-2 feet in diameter with dense hairs on the
upright, hairy, flowering stem with no leaves above the base
flowers are pink-purple and disk-shaped, arranged in a dense spike on a stalk with
up to 50 flowers, blooms in early spring
fruits take the form of a pink-purple achene, up to 3 millimeters in length
KISMA Management Practices
Butterbur spreads easily by rhizomes as well as by seed production. KISMA has been
managing a half-acre butterbur area in Chassell periodically since the summer of 2021,
and the results are looking optimistic.
cover portions of the butterbur patch with tarps or repurposed carpet pieces to reduce
photosynthesis and to act as safe spots to place removed plant material to dry in
repeatedly pull or cut aboveground butterbur plant material every 2-3 weeks throughout
the growing season over multiple years
Note: The purpose of this removal strategy is to starve the rhizome system of any
carbohydrates that would be gained by photosynthesis and will require multiple years
of surveillance and removal of plant material to be successful.
Examples of Areas Managed for Butterbur around KISMA
Species such as red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), joe-pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are great native alternatives as they all thrive in environments similar to butterbur.
It is important to replace butterbur with native alternatives to keep it from growing
back after removal and to cover up exposed topsoil.