From a gardener’s perspective, flowering plants that attract bees, butterflies, and birds while deterring deer from a daily nibble are a welcome addition to the yard.
Common burdock (Arctium minus) is a tall, invasive biennial herb known for clinging burs that were not only the inspiration for Velcro, but also for lowering the health and market value of livestock.
Annual or winter annual grass. Cheatgrass has a fine, feathery appearance overall, with slender light-green stems drooping at the tips where the seeds form. Seed spikelets and their bristles can be 5 centimetres long. Mature grass grows to 75 centimetres and turns first purple, and then brown, as it dries.
Native to Eurasia, common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) made its way to Canada and British Columbia in the 1600s as an alleged cure for joint pain, and for its uses as a companion plant to cucumbers, squash, and roses. It was known to repel garden pests like ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, and squash bugs. It was also used in early embalming practices.
A gardening favourite and a bird’s delight, spurge-laurel (daphne laureola) is a seemingly harmless plant that resembles the Pacific rhododendron; however, this invasive plant grows rapidly, out-competes native vegetation, and poses a serious health risk to people and pets for its poisonous sap.
Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) is a perennial aquatic invader that resembles a large sedge, and flourishes along shorelines and as a submersed plant in lakes and rivers. Dense stands interfere with recreation, crowd out native plants, and can be harmful to fish and wildlife.
With brilliant yellow pea-like flowers, gorse (Ulex Europaeus) has brightened the countryside of Southern Vancouver Island, West Vancouver, parts of the Gulf Islands, and Skidegate on the Queen Charlotte Islands. While this new bright and beautiful plant may lighten landscapes, its cheery colors are quickly clouded by many undesirable traits.
Attracting butterflies, birds, and bees with its dandelion-like features, invasive yellow and orange hawkweeds (Hieracium caespitosumand H. aurantiacum) began popping up around British Columbia as recently as fifty years ago, finding their way into backyard rock gardens and public landscapes as a gardener’s favourite perennial.
For many folks, blackberries involve mouth-watering anticipation for that warm and golden slice of pie, while for others; it may be a delightful sunny afternoon picking handfuls. But for residents in the Lower Mainland, who experience himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor) thickets thriving on their property, it is considered an unwelcome invader.
As you are driving through BC’s Okanagan, Cariboo, Boundary, Thompson and Kootenay areas, you may notice a small white flower sprinkled along roadsides or spread across a field like sifted white power. This is hoary alyssum(Berteroa incana).
The petals of the noxious weed, Hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum Officinale), may remind you of a dog’s tongue, happily hanging out the side of his mouth. But behind this plant’s elegant rosy petals is a bite worth noting.
Plants like to grow, and gardeners love to grow them; however, some plants are invasive, including leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula). Leafy spurge has a highly competitive growing ability that causes a drastic, irreversible shift in the ecology of surrounding habitats; as native plants are displaced, biodiversity declines.