Look out! The Alien Superweeds have landed!
Our guest speaker, Tasha Murray from ISCMV, the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver, delivered a very important presentation about the hazards of invasive non-native plants. (This non-profit society was established in 2006.)
Ms. Murray provided the definition as “non-native species that cause economic harm, harm to human health or environmental harm. They are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide, second only to habitat destruction”. They are fast growers, often have few natural controls, and can choke out the natural vegetation. Some are very toxic to humans (such as hogweed) and others can work their way right through roads and walls (such as ivy and knotweed). The ISCMV works with coordinated activities throughout the province, including Provincial, Regional, Municipal, and First Nations groups. The Horticultural industry, Academic institutions, private landowners, and stewardship/ non-profit groups are all important contributors. Solutions include removal/control, prevention, restoration, and education. One plan, called “Grow Me Instead”, is a voluntary effort by some Garden Shops to suggest and sell attractive alternatives to potentially invasive species.
How do they arrive? Although some species were originally brought in by Garden Shops (lamium, knotweed), many are “hitch hikers” on car tires, ATVs, boat motors, and even shoes. Orange Hawkweed, for example, was found in the hay brought in for the artificial snow hills at our Olympic venues!
What can we do? Be vigilant in using weed-free sources, be aware of what you are growing, avoid “fast-spreaders” and “vigorous self-seeders”, remove any invasive species being careful to contain any seeds, and ban invasive from garden sales.
Keep a watch for invasive species and report them accordingly! Two easy to install Apps are: Report Invasives BC and Report-a-Weed.
Visit www.ISCMV.ca for more information. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram! Contact Tasha at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a regional brochure that highlights the most common offenders. www.bcinvasives.ca
Photos and descriptions of the full list are available at: http://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-plants
Another resource is www.eflora.bc.ca, an electronic atlas of BC plants, mosses, lichens, algae, fungi, including invasive species.
Some of the most problematic plants are:
Knotweed (exceedingly difficult to totally eradicate) , Giant Hogweed (very toxic), Scotch Broom, English Ivy, Himalayan Blackberry, English Holly, Lamium (often sold in flower baskets), Daphne (Spurge Laurel), Yellow Flag Iris, Purple Loosestrife, Common Periwinkle, Orange Hawkweed, Garlic Mustard, and Parrot’s Feathers.
Some surprises might be: Baby’s Breath, Canada Thistle, Butterfly Bush, and St. John ’s Wort.
Of course, plants are not the only invasives! Other invasive species include Fire Ants, European Chafer Beetles, Bullfrogs, European Cottontail Rabbit, Eastern Grey Squirrels, and Quagga Mussels.