A year ago today, on April 8th 2013, the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society was officially incorporated as a non-profit Society in BC. Since then we have been working hard to spread the word and raise awareness about invasive species in our region (check out our 2013 Annual Report). Watch for us at your local farmers’ markets & events and contact us if you would like to book a presentation or workshop in your area. We look forward to continue making a difference in our second season of operation!
Rubus armeniacus (also: Rubus discolor)
The distribution of Himalayan blackberry in the Columbia-Shuswap is not well known. Himalayan blackberry are generally introduced as garden food plants before they get out of control and expand into surrounding areas.
Himalayan blackberry plants are aggressive invaders that produce think canes with sharp prickles. The leaves are generally grouped into fives on first year canes and groups of three on flowering, second yer canes. The flowers range from delicate white to light pink.
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant Himalayan blackberry in your garden! There are native varieties of blackberry that can be grown in their place. More information about Himalayan blackberry and control options can be found on the ISCBC website: http://www.bcinvasives.ca/publications/TIPS/Blackberry_TIPS.pdf
Himalayan balsam (also known as “Policemen’s Helmet”) is found primarily near populations centers in the Columbia Shuswap where it spreads from gardens into nearby waterways and ditches.
Himalayan balsam is introduced primarily through gardens. It is an impressive annual plant with a large capacity to produce seed pods which explode to disperse up to 7 meters away. Plants can grow up to 2 meters tall and produce pink, sweet smelling hooded flowers.
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant Himalayan balsam in your garden! There are alternative ornamentals that can be grown in their place. Although Himalayan balsam is an annual plant with relatively weak roots and an almost hollow stem its capacity for reproduction makes it very difficult to control once it is established. Hand pull this plant before it goes to seed.
More information about Himalayan balsam control options can be found here: http://www.shim.bc.ca/invasivespecies/_private/himalayan_balsam.htm
Himalayan balsam can produce up to 2,500 seeds per plant. These seeds can remain viable for up to 18 months and have even been known to germinate under water.
With spring newly arriving many of us are ready to dust off our gardening gloves & start working the soil. Before you place your seed order please check that the beauties you are about to nurture in your garden aren’t invasive! Many invasive plants were originally introduced as garden flowers and to this day some gardens continue to be a problematic source of spread. Unfortunately some plants do not stay contained in a garden and can cross boundaries to create serious ecological consequences for our native plants & animals. The Invasive Species Council of BC has an excellent resource “Grow Me Instead” that can inform gardeners decisions when choosing plants while offering alternatives for those with invasive characteristics.
Do the right thing and make sure you are not harboring invasives!
It can be accessed on-line via this link: Grow Me Instead Brochure
Representatives from CSISS attended the annual Invasive Species Council of BC’s Public Forum. Informed speakers delivered the latest on a variety of relevant invasive species issues across the province and we learned what is on the horizon in terms of provincial regulations, new invaders and best practices for invasive plant control. For more information visit the ISCBC Website