Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Scary Weeds of Ontario

Okay, this one sounds just plain scary.   Even the name is scary.

I won’t scare you by telling you its name.

dodder

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Permit me an aside for a second:

It’s raining!  The rain barrel is working!!!

Not only are my plants getting watered tonight, but hopefully their water requirements for the next however-long are also getting taken care of in the bargain!

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So why was I looking up Scary Weeds of Ontario?

Having spent the day at Riverdale Farm, I was curious about the Garlic Mustard (allaria petiolata) we saw everywhere up and down the hillsides.

Garlic Mustard is not a scary name; in fact, since I like garlic and mustard, it actually has kind of a pleasant ring to it.  Yum!  And on the surface, it’s not all that scary a plant; kind of pretty, if underwhelming in the flowers department, and kind of serrated about the leaves.

garlic_mustard_flowerhead_small

The fact that it’s turning into a monoculture in the valley there is a little unsettling, however.

I picked one to look closer at it.  It does indeed have a pungent, garlicky smell.

From Wikipedia:  “In many areas of its introduction in Eastern North America, it has become the dominant under-story species in woodland and flood plain environments, where eradication is difficult.”

And being a foreign invader, it lacks its natural predators, meaning it gets to do what it likes with our woodlands.

Oooh, having said that, I guess I’m a bit of a transplant here myself.  :-o

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