Galinsoga – Galinsoga parviflora


This leafy, upright, summer annual has the common name used by my Dad ‘gallant soldier’ and is cursed as an invasive weed, yet it is valued as a pot herb in other parts of the world. I find it a pretty plant with its pointed, oval yellowish-green leaves in opposite pairs that are toothed and pointed with hairs on the leaf margins and stems.  It has small flowers in clusters that have five white petals – three lobed at the tips with yellow centres called disc florets (right). galensogaflowers

Flowering from October-April it likes to grow amongst your vegetables and flowers in cultivated land, pasture and waste places in sun and partial shade. It is named after a man called M.M. Galinsoga an 18th Century Spanish physician; parviflora is Latin for small flowers.

It is not that common all over NZ yet but once you have it in the garden it is usually there to stay. It is native to South America and known as Guascas in Colombia, being an essential ingredient in Bogota chicken and potato stew/soup called ajiaco.

Nutritional Qualities

You can use the leaves especially of young plants seen above, stems and even the flowers in smoothies, salads, stews, steamed or juiced and mixed with other juices. It is mild in flavour and can be dried for winter use.  Galinsoga is another remedy (along with plantain and dock) for neutralizing the sting of nettles.  It is astringent in its action and can be used to help clot the blood of cuts and wounds.

In 100gm of this plant there are 3.2g protein and 1.1g of fiber (compared to spinach which has 2.9g protein and 2.6g of fiber).  It is high in calcium: 284mg per 100gm (parsley 140mg), Vitamin A or beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and Vitamin C as ascorbic acid.

In a 2007 study at the University of  KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, 16 herbs were studied for possible ACE inhibitors. ACE inhibitors, which are also made synthetically by drug companies to treat high blood pressure, help prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. One of the herbs found to exhibit ACE inhibitors and so help improve blood flow was Galinsoga parviflora or guascas. (Chenopodium album  or Fat Hen was another) Recent studies have also demonstrated the antioxidants and phenolic compounds present in guascas can inhibit high blood sugar levels or hyperglysemia and also hypertension galensogasmoothieassociated with type 2 diabetes. Source:

The photo right shows a thick patch of galinsoga with Circulation smoothie in the middle

72 Responses to “Galinsoga”

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  1. Karen Koper says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m in the northeast US and have a garden full of galinsoga. I’ve eaten them before cooked and they were very good. I was wondering about the nutritional value and you answered my question. It’s kind of interesting that a weed in my garden is also pervasive on the other side of the world. Guess that’s why they call it the gallant soldier.

    • Julia says:

      Lovely to have your comments. Thank you for sharing and yes the name is apt isn’t it for gallantly spreading everywhere.

  2. Paul Mallett says:

    Thanks for your info

    I’m in southern Canada and could never find the name or description of this weed, I eat all types but wanted to have a positive match for this one. I will take your advice and dry them over the winter.


    • Julia says:

      Good to hear from you Paul – very glad you were able to identify galinsoga – good idea to dry it for winter use. We’re just moving into spring so they will be popping up again with us soon.

  3. Mary says:

    I am wondering where I can buy galinsoga plant. My husband and I lived in Bogota, Colombia, and fell in love with Ajiaco. I know that I can buy them dried from “Amigo Foods. com. However, I will still like to grow them myself.


  4. Hamish says:

    Crikey! I have had the thing for all of this century and hate it with a passion. So… its good to have a name for it instead of the DYFW (dreaded yellow flowering weed) and nice to see that we can eat the thing. As soon as a crop next appears I will not only dig it out but also try gnashing it. Now need the Bogota Chicken recipe.

  5. Julia says:

    HI Hamish, great to hear from you and so glad the plant now has a name in your garden. I think we feel that the plants are going to take over, but this one is quite pretty, good for insects, doesn’t get very tall and easy to pull out if you have to. But another amazing feature is that it they’ve done research and found it lowers high blood pressure. I agree it spreads a lot but I never worry about it now and it disappears completely in winter. I did see that recipe for Bogota stew – I think I googled it, in case you want to find it. I haven’t tried it yet myself but want to.

  6. tatiana says:

    Hello, I am from Colombia and have been trying to find some seeds or the plant to grow them myself. If someone can suggest a place to get them I will be extremely thankful!

  7. Carolyn says:

    I am also looking for the plant or seeds of Galinsoga parviflora. Any ideas of a source for either?
    Thank you.

  8. James says:

    Do you know if galinsoga has oxalic acid in it?

  9. Julia says:

    HI James, galensoga is in the aster family of plants along with dandelions. Dandelions do not have oxalic acid and it is my experience that nor does galensoga. If I have too much oxalic acid I get a dry throat and I don’t get that with galensoga.
    Thank you for your question it is a good one!! Best wishes, Julia

  10. Bruce Hoffman says:

    Been gardening in the same spot for 17-18 years. Three years ago I got some cow manure and also got this weed. Ive been trying to get rid of it for three years. Now I find out people want it? People eat it? this stuff grows like crazy! I guess im going to have to try eating it. Its easy to grow,LOL. Named Gallant Soldier,this stuff will march all over. Wonder if you can make a tea out of it. 😉 ,Northern Indiana. Thanks Julia

    • Julia says:

      I’m sure you can make tea of it. Sorry took SO long to reply to you!! Have you tried eating gallant soldier in the meantime?? It is growing now in NZ (Dec) and I enjoy it in smoothies but steams and in salads too. Happy experimenting!

  11. Saulo villamizar says:

    Where can i bay seeds

  12. Saulo villamizar says:

    Where can i buy galinsoga parviflora seeds?

  13. Julia says:

    I have seeds of galensoga you can buy. Where do you live? I am in New Zealand.

    • jose angulo says:


      please where can I buy galensoga seeds . I live in california

      • Julia says:

        Did you ever find seeds of galensoga? I can send you some if not.

        • carlos ferrero says:

          Hi, I am looking to buy some seeds or better yet a plant with roots to plant here, I am in southern california

          • carlos ferrero says:

            can you email me the info to pay using Paypal, I want come Ajiaco and for that I need my “Guascas”

            Latcotax @

        • LEILANI LABIANCO says:

          I would like some seeds of the guascas plant. Here is my email. I can lay through PAYPAL.
          Llabianco911@gmail. Com. I live in US.

          • Julia says:

            HI Leilani, I have emailed you and sent my paypal address to make a payment so that I can send you the seeds. Many thanks for your interest!

  14. Heidi says:

    Hi I’m Heidi and live in Southern California. Very useful info! A question: Why does My galinsoga only have the yellow florets but is missing those five petals with the gap in between? And yes, it has the black seeds that get stuck in my clothes. The leaves looks so healthy I want to eat them!

    • Julia says:

      Hi Heidi, sorry for slow reply! I honestly don’t know the answer to why your plant doesn’t have the gaps in the petals. There may be different varieties but I am not familiar with other varieties. I will look on the website called plants for a future and you could too. It is a great resource. Best wishes

    • Bharat says:

      Sounds like you have bidens pilosa (black jack) and not galinsoga – they do appear alike but the black (needle-shaped) seeds are a giveaway.

      • Heidi Yerkes says:

        I thought it was the same I eat it & I love it. Info in pdf says it has a lot of antioxidants & is anticancer. I made ajiaco with it and Peruvian dish Papa a la Huancayina- delish!!

  15. Lizelle says:

    Hi Julia:)

    I have been looking for info on this plant and found your site very interesting.

    I am combating septoria leave spot on my nightshades. I will finish of with this crop and then rotate next year with something more resistant to this as my garden is currently a battle field.

    Gallant soldiers are marching all over the tomato garden and I need to know, since the battle of septoria will continue next year, are they prove to get infected too? Will the soldiers take the spores to their graves resulting in diseased resurections?

    • Julia says:

      HI Lizelle I don’t believe the galensoga will take the spores to the ground when they die but the nightshades will. Good luck combatting the septoria. Do you compost your garden? You might need to build up the humus levels and the microorganisms to get the balance right.

  16. Julia says:

    I don’t know the answer to that question, i will ask a gardening expert though.

  17. Angelica Lonergan says:

    I am from Bogota, Colombia. I use “guascas” to make ajiaco. It is the most important ingredient for this soup. I would love to have the galinsoga in my yard. My husband loves it. I live in the Northeast of USA. It will be nice is somebody has the seeds I will like to buy. Thanks.

    • Maureen says:

      Hi Angelica, I am in the Hartford Ct area. I am finding it all over my yard since we had a big delay in mowing. It seems to pop up in the midst of other weeds. One spring up in a pot that I had planted vegetable seeds. I didn’t know it was a weed so I let it grow. It’s beautiful so I finally decided to find out what it is. Now that I know I am finding them springing up in the garden and pots, as well as with other weeds. My point is you may have plenty but do not recognize them when they are small. When they are very small they do not have flowers or seeds. So look for leaves close to the ground growing upward with the same leaves.

    • James Caron says:

      It grows wild in my garden. I would be happy to send you a few plants with flowers – the seeds form rapidly once there is a flower, and according to some websites, the seeds germinate before they hit the ground! It’s also known as quickweed. If there is some way to send me a POB number, I can send you some. But be aware that they produce so many seeds that within a season you may have Galinsoga popping up in every bare patch of earth!
      Jim (in Massachusetts)

  18. Angelica Lonergan says:

    I am from Bogota, Colombia. I use “guascas” to make ajiaco. It is the most important ingredient for this soup. I would love to have the galinsoga in my yard. My husband loves it. I live in the Northeast of USA. It will be nice is somebody has the seeds I will like to buy. Thanks.

  19. Julia says:

    HI Angelica thank you for writing to me great to hear from you and to know you like this plant and use it in ajiaco! I have seeds but I live in New Zealand and I don’t know if I am allowed to send you seeds with border controls etc. Ask a friend to send you some from Colombia would be the best – or if someone is visiting Colombia get them to bring you some back. It has lots of seeds and is easy to collect. The seeds are very small. Its a great plant I love it. All the best finding some.

  20. Justin says:

    Hi Julie,

    I’m in Melbourne, Australia and would love to buy some Galinsoga seeds from
    You if that’s possible?

  21. Maria villegas says:

    Please!!! Somebody in the states that sell me a plant of galisonga to make ajiaco!!!! It’s delicious and the plant dry it’s not the same

  22. Mike says:


    I live in the UK

    This plant has taken over my veg plot in the last few years , you can have as much as you want

    Mike , UK

    • Julia says:

      Hi Mike I hope you are eating it as it is such a good vegetable to steam, put young plants in salad or smoothies or soups or stews as they do in Colombia. Maybe you could sell some to a local restaurant who would like to include wild foods? Or you could dry it for use as powder. Once it has gone to flower it is not so good for eating. How do you view it? Do you mind it taking over?

  23. Norma Coles says:

    This plant just came up this year in my garden. I know for a fact I did not “plant’ it.
    Glad to find info on this. Thanks!

  24. Randy Peterson says:

    Can you please send me 2 dozen seeds?
    I live in Sunnyvale, CA

  25. Bruce Hoffman says:

    Anyone wanting this weed is invited to come pick it out of my garden where it grows very well. I have eaten it sauteed and it tastes a little like white asparagus. They sell it on One flower has around 900 or more seeds,and one plant has about 300,000 seeds.It arrived in my garden with some manure and has thrived. Now the only problem is how to get rid of it. I can’t eat it in that high volume.Hoe it and it re roots itself. The only way to get rid of it is maybe leave your garden bare and roundup the whole mess. You have to wash the hoes,rakes,tillers and all garden implements to get rid of even the smallest chance of a seed hitching a ride to your lawn or other places. No wonder they call it Gallant Soldier…

    • Julia says:

      Hello Bruce, wow those statistics are incredible. No wonder it is so good at spreading. We have it going out into the paddocks of pasture where it is bare (and it is filling an empty niche), but it doesn’t survive winter. Ok so you want to get rid of it. I have two ideas: one is the idea of peppering it. This is a method people using Biodynamic principles use to get rid of pests. You burn the dry plant material and then make a homeopathic remedy through dilution and spray it on the garden and it works. The other idea is to gather a whole lot and soak it in a barrel until it dissolves and then dilute that and spray it back on the area. I know a man who had a farm infested with ragwort (which cows and we can’t eat) and he soaked it, and then sprayed it back on the land and he does not now have it. Ragwort shows a copper deficiency the ragwort grew to correct it. Galensoga is providing calcium to the soil, so adding lime to your garden could be a further way to deter it. Google further on how to do it. Spraying is a toxic solution – there are other ways to approach it and save adding poison to your environment. Good Luck!!!

      • Linda Craemer says:

        Julia the plants die but the seeds do not. As soon as the ground thaws the seeds begin to grow. I did put down a large amount of straw mulch this spring and it did stop the galinsoga except right at the plant and around the perimeter of the straw. Next spring I will spray and then roll out enough round bales to cover the ground.

        • Julia says:

          HI Linda, I went to a day yesterday learning about soils. If you use glyphosate or round up to kill the galensoga you will kill the biology in the soil and you’ll be worse off, as this spray is patented as an antibiotic (anti life basically). I heard that busta another type of spray doesn’t kill the biology in the soil. Yes mulching is the way to go and to keep hoeing it as it comes up and then mulch on top. It is just trying to cover up the soil for you.

  26. UKZN Stafff says:

    Good day

    I have this recent interest in edible weeds and happened to come across this page while searching. Thanks for the excellent information!

    I was also pleasantly surprised to see a reference to the institution where I work (please note that the name in the article is incomplete, it is the University of KwaZulu-Natal).

    Keep up the good work. I plan to use your site to look up more!

    • Julia says:

      Hello UKZN Staff and thank you very much for taking the time to write and give me good feedback on this article. I really appreciate it and I also appreciate the correction of the Univeristy of KwaZulu-Natal’s name. Thank you for that.

  27. Bruce Hoffman says:

    Thanks Julia,I have found recipes on it ,can’t seem to find the recipe on Italian foods anymore. It has more nutrients then spinach. I don’t like it raw. Never tried it in Bogota Chicken. Its called Guascas in a lot of web sites.Poisonous to goats it seems,cause I thought about getting a couple goats,probably why the deer don’t eat it. Just keep tilling the garden for now,tilling and hoeing. Need to pull pull pull.Its coming across the boarded lane and trying to take residence in the yard,LOL,If a person could grow some and contain it in specified location ,it could be quite handy.

    • Julia says:

      I put young plants in my smoothies so I don’t really taste it. Have you looked up the ajiaco recipe from Colombia? It would flavour the dish though. I think our cows eat it when it is young but not totally sure. It is amazing that it has elements in it that help reduce high blood pressure. Go well with the pulling – it is easy to pull out isn’t it.

      Warm wishes and thanks for writing and sharing!

  28. EHS says:

    Thank you for the informative post! I live in the northeastern U.S. and hadn’t been able to previously find a positive ID on this. It is the most prevalent weed in my garden, and since I juice or eat nearly all the weeds I pull I was very curious as to whether I could do the same with this. I only started collecting edible weeds in the last couple years and can’t believe how many healthy greens I passed over before that. I’ll add this to my edible list now.

  29. Lee says:

    One of my favorites. I leave weeds in my garden. They hold in moisture. My beets get the size of footballs. I only pull deep rooted weeds. It is very tasty.

    • Julia says:

      HI Lee, so good to hear from you and I love what you say!! So glad you like galensoga and yes weeds do help hold moisture in the soil. Wow good on you for growing such big beets! Do you add compost to your garden I wonder?
      which deep rooted vegetables do you pull and eat – I’d love to hear!

  30. Robert says:

    this is one of the worst weeds I have ever come by and should not be spread!!!! it has take over my garden with no hope. any fragment of stem will regenerate and produce more plants. seeds out within days of flowering producing 1000 s of new plants if anyone has a control for this please let me know.

  31. Robert says:

    your picture with the smoothie. that was my garden without the smoothie. this year is cooler and something is eating the leaves. but I fear the heat of august.

  32. Julia says:

    HI Robert, unlike most people I see fields of ‘weeds’ as nature’s abundance and I know it doesn’t last and changes. WOW something eating the galensoga – see nature likes to bring things back to balance if we trust in it. I had things eat ours too and they looked really tatty and holey leaves when they were amongst the beans. I reckoned the insects were eating galensoga and not the beans so much. My theory and it seemed to be true. Thanks for writing in.
    I know have an incredibly strong grass called Kikuyu in this garden I just moved to. It is way worse than galensoga and a perennial that goes underground to get to new places and is very invasive. But I am not going to spray it will work with it and cover it with carpet etc.

    • Robert Radtke says:

      Reply this is not a balance this is a weed taking over the landscape something that was not here and now is it don’t belong and for you to say that this is a good thing and people should plant it is crazy.

      As I stated before my garden looks like the picture of the smoothie without the smoothie there should be carrots in peas and beans and all sorts of vegetables
      Instead of this weed the seeds do winter over in Wisconsin and please contact me if anybody knows how to get rid of this weed

      You should stop trying to spread this weed it is non-native and invasive to the US and just like any other invasive specie we should destroy it but I have not found out how.

  33. Dianne Fuchs says:

    I am looking for guascas seeds. It looks like you might have some to share.

  34. Julia says:

    HI Dianne, thanks for writing and asking about guascas seeds. I sell them for NZ $4 packet plus postage. Where are you located?

  35. Kathryn says:

    This is very interested as this plant is my true garden enemy. I am humored by the fact that people would want seeds as it can easily take over and is impossible to get rid of. I am a smoothie nut so I’ll try that and maybe look for a recipe for the soup and possible take up selling the plants and seeds since they have caused me great sweat. I spent an hour pulling them today and have not even put a nick in them.

    • Julia says:

      HI Kathryn,
      the thing is to keep the soil covered with mulch so it can’t get a foothold and to keep tilling until you do cover up the soil.

  36. Linda Craemer says:

    I’m in Wisconsin. This plant has overtaken my veggie garden choking out many of my plants and killing my squash watermelon and cantaloupes. They spread to any patch of ground that is not covered by grass very easily and grows around everything even in my potted plants. I pulled enough to fill my pickup truck and that was perhaps a tennth of what remains. I’m overwhelmed. The farm bureau told me to move my garden as I won’t get rid of it. I’m not sure where it came from and struggling to contain it. I read that it has many valuable nutrients but there is no way to use all of it. I will try your biodynamic method. I will gather several large plastic bags and let it decompose over the winter. Next spring I will make a tea and spray the garden I hope this will work

  37. Delyse Sanders says:

    I live in a village in staffordshire and own a 1/2 acre garden that i let people use for allotments.This vile greedy weed has taken over and has smothered all other crops despite diligent hand weeding.
    I start with a clean stale bed ,sow carrots, parsnips onions, etc in march and they grow beautifully….until june thenPOW UP THEY COME and no amount of continued hoeing works. they are relentless! So unless you can live on smoothes etc.,and nothing else avoid it like the plague.

    I have cunning plans 1 sell it as a new wonder salad plant
    2 strim it
    3 fire gun it then cover it with permeable black plastic for a year….and buy my veggies which i have-not done for years.There are many herbs that contain the same nutrients. BEWARE!