Caragana arborescens (Siberian Peashrub)

Plant Info
Also known as: Siberian Pea Tree
Family:Fabaceae (Pea)
Life cycle:perennial woody
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
Habitat:part shade, sun; roadsides, forest edges, open woods, urban landscapes; planted as a windbreak
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:6 to 18 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
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: irregular

[photo of flowers] 1 to 5 long-stalked flowers bundled in leaf axils of the numerous lateral branchlets. Flowers are yellow, about ¾ inch long, pea-shaped, the upper petal (standard) broad, mostly ascending, the sides often curled back, the 2 lateral petals (wings) broad and much longer than the lower petal (keel). The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is tubular, about 1/3 the length of the flower, silky hairy, with 5 small triangular lobes. Stalks are ¾ to 2 inches long and silky hairy. Flowers are fragrant.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound with 8 to 12 leaflets, lack a terminal leaflet, 3 to 5 inches long, alternate or whorled at the tips of branches and lateral branchlets. Leaflets are ½ to 1 inch long, generally elliptic, rounded at the tip with a minute sharp point at the apex (mucronate), toothless and stalkless. Surfaces and leaf stalks are silky hairy when young, becoming smooth with age, the upper leaf surface bright to dark green, the lower surface paler. At the base of the leaf node is often a pair of spine-like appendages (stipules) up to 3/8 inch long. New branches are smooth and shiny, olive green to yellowish brown with older bark darker gray. Stems are usually multiple from the base with branches and leaves all the way to the base.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a slender, straight, bean-like pod 1 to 2 inches long that ripens from green to yellow to brown and contains 3 to 6 reddish-brown seeds. When mature the pod bursts open, flinging the seeds a few feet from the mother plant, then curls up and persists on the branch.


Siberian Peashrub is a shrub or small tree that was commonly planted as a windbreak, for wildlife, and as an ornamental in landscapes, then escaped cultivation and is now considered invasive in many locations, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. While not as problematic or widespread as buckthorn, it does establish itself in forests, woodland edges, savannas and roadsides. It is much more widespread in Minnesota than the distribution maps indicate, since planted populations are not included and the distinction between planted and escaped populations can be ambiguous. You may even have spotted it in campgrounds and trail edges in some of our state parks. It tolerates a wide range of soil and moisture conditions and several cultivars are available in the nursery trade. Siberian Peashrub is easy to identify from the abundant yellow flowers and bean-like fruits, compound leaves that lack a terminal leaflet, and the spine-like stipules at leaf nodes.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


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

Posted by: Laura - Ely
on: 2016-08-30 07:42:43

My neighbor has peashrub (or peabush) planted as an ornamental. I can actually hear the fruits snapping open on dry days.

Posted by: Nicole - Pierz
on: 2017-05-26 11:22:46

We have it along the dirt road, the honey bees and birds love it, but it is overgrown and not so pretty in the winter :(

Posted by: Jess - Meeker county
on: 2017-08-24 20:33:04

I have not seen this plant but I'm wondering if there is a Minnesota native plant that has similar attributes especially the nitrogen fixation and a similar size that could be used in place of pea shrub for permaculture plantings with a 3rd attribute of possibly providing fodder for goats sheep chickens and or pigs

Posted by: Carrie - Duluth
on: 2018-08-22 13:43:04

We have one! It is crackling like crazy right now.

Posted by: Jennifer L Tuder - Fridley
on: 2019-06-09 16:54:17

We had one of these in our campsite at Savanna Portage State Park. It attracted numerous hummingbirds, bumblebees, and tiger swallowtail butterflies.

Posted by: Ray Gillman - St Paul
on: 2019-08-07 11:59:06

For people looking for substitutes to this plant perhaps the closest might be the Honey locust. Same hanging beans (claimed to be sweet and edible) hanging down and same nitrogen fixing netted roots that are excellent at holding topsoil in place to slow erosion. I have both and like the Siberian Pea because it has no thorns on it whereas the Locust has thorns.

Posted by: luciearl - Lake Shore, MN
on: 2019-08-29 06:29:31

Have seen this growing in several areas in the Brainerd lakes area.

Posted by: Nick Greatens - MINNEAPOLIS
on: 2020-06-14 14:45:44

Hey everyone, just be aware that this is now legally considered a noxious weed in Minnesota. Please do not plant it or distribute it. If you have it growing on your property consider replacing it with something else.

Posted by: Sam - Minneapolis
on: 2020-08-02 12:36:48

I say it by the Home Depot in Minneapolis, it was planned by a sidewalk by their garden center.

Posted by: A. H. - Duluth
on: 2022-07-04 01:08:17

Saw one today at Leif Erickson Park.

Posted by: Rochelle Daniels-Ratzloff - Orono / Nevis
on: 2022-07-24 21:04:37

We planted caragana on our 39 acre virgin property 20 years ago. It started as a hedge for our driveway. It has spread to the hill behind our is filled with native plants... yet the caragana seems to be spreading rapidly and I worry about it choking out the natives... it seems to be everywhere. I live right outside Minneapolis on a 30 acre land trust and I have wrestled with it for years ... cut, pull, poison. Please tell me your thoughts and thank you for your help!

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-07-25 04:23:04

Rochelle, we do not have any expertise in managing this invasive species. Perhaps your county Soil and Water Conservation District can offer advice and/or assistance.

Posted by: tom - hastings
on: 2022-08-25 07:55:56

bought what I thought was a butterfly bush. that's what it said on the tag. from one of them popup garden places you see in front of like supermarkets or strip malls. when it started bering beans it took me some time to find out what was Siberian Peashrub. now it is over 6 ft tall. wrapped around a trellis. going to rip it out

Posted by: B. McIntyre - Pope County
on: 2023-05-19 18:52:08

I have always despised Caragana. Even as a kid, I hated the way it smelled of old peas and rotting silage. At least to me it does. As a master gardener and botanist, I tend to like all plants for the most part, but this shrub has always driven me crazy for some reason. Perhaps part of that dislike is because Caragana is overused, and seems to be extremely ubiquitous. Or, it used to be. It seems to be in almost every yard, and unfortunately, there are hedges of it still used as windbreaks in more rural areas. I am pleased to see that it is now considered invasive, and should be eradicated. I cannot imagine anything more discouraging than finding volunteer Caragana shrubs growing in the wilds of Minnesota. Lol, Can you tell just how much I despise this shrub? I am going to make it my mission to eradicate all Caragana in Pope County! Thank you for such an informational and spectacular website!

Posted by: Erin Woodington - Brooklyn Park
on: 2023-07-10 14:00:44

We purchased a property with a wild/natural hill and these are everywhere! How do I get rid of them? I can hardly keep up.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-07-10 14:28:17

Erin, the DNR includes some control methods on their invasive species page.

Posted by: anonymous - Ottertail County
on: 2023-09-20 11:31:28

I planted this shrub as part of wildlife cover packages from the DNR about 30 years ago It is in the process of crowding out everything except sumac. And has created an impenetrable thicket on about 40 acres of land. Is there any solution? There are crabapples and plums still sticking up above the thicket but not that many.

Posted by: Charles Argue - St. Paul
on: 2024-02-23 10:09:10

I've seen this plant in Douglas County, just north of Ashby on the highway to Battle Lake

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