Fight invader now or it will be too late

Invasive plants may not always seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Invasive plants may not always seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

After all, many plants that we love aren’t exactly indigenous to this area.

That doesn’t necessarily make them bad. There’s a difference between introduced species and invasive species.

Some plants we’re very thankful have been successfully transplanted to our farms and backyards as we enjoy eating them very much.

Or they provide us with joy through the beauty of their foliage or flowers, or provide us with shade from the hot summer sun.

But some plants become a nuisance, or worse.

Giant hogweed, brought in as an exotic plant by a gardener, or gardeners, can actually cause severe burns on the skin of anyone unfortunate enough to touch it without protection.

And now it’s growing all over the place thanks to wind and birds carrying seed hither and yon.

We could really have done without that.

Or scotch broom — that scourge that infests our roadsides and hillsides, driving out native species and turning to a tinderbox in the hot, dry weather.

We’re not anywhere close to controlling its rate of spread.

Tansy ragwort is an ugly one masked with pretty daisy-like yellow flowers.

But it is highly poisonous to livestock should they eat it when out grazing in a field.

The menace also produces an astounding 150,000 or so seeds per plant.

And here in the Cowichan Valley we really wish whoever emptied their aquarium or otherwise threw out their parrotfeather into the Somenos Creek area had thought first.

The parrotfeather has gone on to a long and fertile life, and is gradually clogging up the creek to the point where there is some worry among those keeping an eye on its prodigious spread that it could begin to block water channels altogether.

Make no mistake, this stuff forms a tight-knit blanket on to of the water that can stop a good-sized boat in its tracks.

So far, nothing has been done about it — a mistake of the first order.

With invasive species, if you don’t take some immediate action the problem gets away from you really, really quickly.

Just look at the aforementioned broom.

Imagine if someone had mowed that stuff down repeatedly when it was only a few or a few dozen or even hundred plants.

Action is needed, now.

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