Invasive Plants

Detection and Eradication of New Invasives:

CSISS maximizes the probability of detection and eradication of new invasives by raising public awareness and delivering invasive species workshops. Additionally, CSISS staff responds to invasive species reports and conducts terrestrial and aquatic targeted invasive species surveys on behalf of partner agencies.

All invasive plant data is entered into the provincial Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP).  The IAPP database contains invasive plant surveys, treatments, and activity plans for the entire province of BC.

 

Invasive Plant Profiles:

 

Latin name:

Tribulus terrestris  

Native to:

Europe and Asia 

Regional Distribution:

Puncturevine grows exclusively in southern BC, Osoyoos and Oliver, but has the potential to spread.  Puncturevine is currently on CSISS’ regional EDRR watch list.

Description:

Puncturevine forms dense mats along roadsides, vacant lots, beaches and unpaved parking sites. Each plant can reach up to 3 metres in length and has hairy leaves and tiny yellow flowers. A few weeks after the yellow flowers bloom, spiny, sharp seedpods emerge. These sharp seedpods have a mild toxin at the tip and can easily cut skin and make humans and animals ill. The seeds spread easily by attaching to animals, humans and even tires.

Control:

Mechanical removal (digging, hand pulling, tilling) is effective against infestations when completed before flowering and seed production. Herbicides such as picloram, dicamba and glyphosate have been successful.

For information on prevention and control methods please refer to Weeds BC page 128

 

Latin name:

Euphorbia cyparissias  

Native to:

Europe and Asia 

Regional Distribution:

The distribution of Cypress Spurge is a major concern in the Kootenay, Okanagan, Thompson and Cariboo regions of BC.  In the Columbia Shuswap, it can be found in the Salmon Arm IPMA and Golden IPMA.  Cypress spurge is a provincially noxious weed under the BC Weed Control Act.

Description:

Similarly to Leafy Spurge, Cypress Spurge is a perennial found at low to mid-elevations on dry roadsides, grasslands and open forests rapidly forming large colonies. It has clusters of bright yellow-green flowers that bloom earlier than those of the Leafy Spurge. The leaves have no leaf stalk and are hairless, narrow and spiral around the stem. The leaves of the Cypress Spurge tend to be narrower than those of the Leafy Spurge. The extensive root system can exceed 4.5 meters horizontally and 9 meters vertically making it an aggressive invader. Cypress Spurge is categorized as a competitive invasive plant as it produces a compound in the soil that inhibits the growth of other plants nearby.

Control:

Herbicides have been successful with small infestations. Multiple treatments are required every year for several years due to the aggressive nature of this plant and can re-infest rapidly if left untreated. Mechanical removal is ineffective due to the extensive root system of Cypress Spurge.

You can help!

Be Plant Wise! Plant native or non-invasive alternatives such as Broad-leaf Stonecrop, Yellow Ice Plant, Red Hot Poker, Common Rockrose and Yellow Gem Shrubby Cinquefoil.

Read more about these alternatives here GMI-Booklet_2013_WEB

 

Latin name:

Chondrilla juncea  

Native to:

 Southern Europe, Asia and Africa 

Regional Distribution:

Rush Skeletonweed is a provincially noxious weed and is a major concern in the Kootenay and Okanagan regions. It poses a serious threat to rangelands, gravel pits, drylands and land irrigated for cereal production. In the Columbia Shuswap, rush skeleton weed can be found in the Falkland area.

Description:

Rush Skeletonweed is an aggressive invasive plant that spreads rapidly through plant fragments, its extensive root system and parachute-like seeds which can be transported up to 20 miles. It produces small yellow flowers and can be identified by stiff reddish-brown hairs that cover the base of the stem. This plant has wiry, thin stems, which ooze a milky sap that contaminate and damage cultivation machinery. It also drastically reduces crops yields by out-competing forage crops for soil moisture and nitrogen.

Control:

Herbicides have been successful when multiple treatments are applied annually.  Mechanical removal is effective on small infestations but repeated weed pulls are required due to the extensive root system of Rush Skeletonweed.

For information on prevention and control methods please refer to Weeds BC page 140

 

Latin name:

Butomus umbellatus  

Native to:

Northern Africa, Asia and Europe 

Regional Distribution:

Flowering rush has not yet been found in the Columbia Shuswap region but is an invasive species to watch for as it is currently found in isolated locations around the province of BC. It has had a major ecological impact on the natural ecosystems of the Great Lakes and is causing concern in BC.

Description:

Flowering rush is an aquatic perennial commonly found along shorelines of lakes and rivers, in canals and ditches. This almond-scented plant produces an umbrella shaped array of small pink flowers. The stem can grow up the 3 feet in height and forms dense stands along the shoreline.  Before the flowering stage of this plant it can easily be mistaken for Seacoast bulrush and bur-reed.

Control:

Mechanical control such as careful digging is an effective method in areas where flowering rush is present in low density. The entire plant must be removed in order to ensure complete eradication of the species. Buds or other root fragments can quickly and easily develop on soil.

For lakes without Flowering Rush, prevention is the best control. Clean, Drain and Dry your boat before launching into another water-body.

 

 

Latin name:

Cirsium palustre  

Native to:

Europe

Regional Distribution:

Marsh plume thistle currently has limited distribution in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. This species is  being controlled and monitored in both the Revelstoke and the Salmon Arm Invasive Plant Management Areas (IPMA’s).

Description:

Marsh plume thistle is distinguishable by clusters of purple flowers located at the end of its stems. The stems are usually single, un-branched with hairy leaves, growing up to 2 meters tall. It is commonly found in moist woodlands, riparian areas and roadsides.

Control:

Mechanical removal is an effective method of control when done before flowering to prevent seed-set. If the area is hand-pulled or cut/ mowed before flowering, the plant can be left to decompose on site. If plants have started to flower, flowers must be bagged and removed from the site to prevent the production of viable seeds.  More information about Marsh Plume Thistle and control options can be found on the TIPS sheet. 

 

Latin name:

Gypsophila paniculata 

Native to:

Eurasia

Regional Distribution:
The distribution of Baby’s Breath in the Columbia-Shuswap is not well known although it has been confirmed in a few locations in and around Golden. Baby’s Breath is generally introduced by nurseries in order to supply flower shops with the dainty blooms that are common in floral arrangements and wedding bouquets.

Description:
Baby’s Breath are perennial plants that produce tap roots up to 4 m deep. These deep tap roots can sustain a plant through drought and poor soil conditions. Numerous small white flowers can be found on short stalks and are often used in floral bouquets or dried flower arrangements.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant Baby’s Breath in your garden! More information about Baby’s Breath and control options can be found on the Alberta Invasive Plant Council’s website.

 

Latin name:

Rubus armeniacus (also: Rubus discolor)

Native to:

Asia

Regional Distribution:
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.

Description:

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.

Control:
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.

 

Latin name:

Impatiens glandulifera

Native to:

Himalayas

Regional Distribution:
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.

Description:
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.

Control:
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

Fun facts:
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.

 

Latin name:

Euphorbia esula

Native to:

Eurasia

REGIONALLY NOXIOUS

Regional Distribution:
Leafy spurge is sporadically distributed around the Columbia Shuswap region and in Mount Revelstoke National Parks. There have also been reported sightings south of Chase, BC.

Description:
Leafy spurge is a perennial plant with cup shaped yellowy-green petals below each seed head. The leaves are narrow and pointed, growing along the main stem of the plant.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit this resource from the Invasive Species Council of BC website.

Fun facts:
Leafy spurge contains a milky latex that can be irritating to humans and livestock upon contact. It is recommended to wear gloves when removing this plant.

 

Latin name:

Tanacetum vulgare

Native to:

Temperate Eurasia

REGIONALLY NOXIOUS

Regional Distribution:
Common tansy is found in fields and meadows throughout the Columbia-Shuswap region.

Description:
Common tansy is a perennial plant with compound green leaves with serrated edges and bright yellow button-like flowers arranged in clusters.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit this resource from the ISCBC:

Fun facts:
The seeds of common tansy can persist in the soil and remain viable for up to 25 years!
The milk produced from cows grazing on Common Tansy is reputed to be bitter tasting.

 

Latin name:

Polygonum spp.

Native to:

Asia

REGIONALLY NOXIOUS

Regional Distribution:
Knotweeds in the Columbia-Shuswap are commonly found around human inhabited areas as they are generally introduced as garden ornamentals before they get out of control and expand into surrounding areas. Knotweeds are often found at dump sites as they have the remarkable ability to take root and grow from a single node along the stem.

Description:
There are three main kinds of knotweeds found in the Columbia Shuswap region:
Japanese knotweed
Bohemian knotweed
Giant knotweed

Knotweeds are perennial invasive plants with aggressive growth. They can reach an impressive 3-4 meters in height. The young shoots of knotweed are similar in form to bamboo canes. Knotweeds excel at regenerating from suckers as well as nodes along the stem. If you are not sure which type of Knotweed you are dealing with check out the Knotweed Identification Key published by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant knotweed in your garden! There are alternative ornamentals that can be grown in their place. Once established knotweeds are very difficult to control and can cause damage to human infrastructure and degrade riparian habitat. One of the only effective control measures against knotweed is targeted herbicide. This can take the form of foliar application (herbicide applied directly to the leaves).

Once established, knotweed is extremely difficult to eradicate.  It can re-grow after cutting, burning, or insufficient treatment with herbicide.  Small cuttings of the stem or roots can grow a new plant, proper disposal at your local landfill is imperative to reducing further introductions – do not put in compost or yard waste piles.

More information about knotweed control options can be found at Knot On My PropertySea To Sky Invasive Species Council Control Methods and ISCBC TIPS sheet

Key Recommendations:

  • Control knotweed on your property.  Access step by step instructions for invasive plant management on private land, or a list of professional herbicide contractors in our region.
  • Carefully dispose of knotweed garden waste at your local landfill or transfer station. Knotweed must be double bagged and the landfill attendant must be notified of its contents prior to dumping. DO NOT COMPOST !!
  • Avoid planting invasive species. Alternative species and more information regarding this plant can be found on our website: http://columbiashuswapinvasives.org/resources-for-gardeners/

Scary facts:
Knotweeds can cause extensive damage to infrastructure and have been seen breaking through concrete foundations and asphalt along roadsides. The rhizomes of knotweed are incredibly resistant to cold weather and can survive to temperature below -35 degrees Celsius.

For an informative article on knotweeds by McLeans, The Plant That Is Eating BC, click here.

 

Latin name:

Hieracium sp.

Native to:

Central and eastern Europe

Regional Distribution:
Yellow hawkweed species can be found throughout the Columbia-Shuswap region.

Description:
Yellow hawkweed has a small cluster of yellow dandelion-like flowers near the end of the stem. The leaves form at the base and are long and narrow and slightly hairy on both sides.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit this resource from ISCBC.

Fun facts:
There are native yellow hawkweeds in BC as well but none of the native varieties will produce stolons (stems/ runners produced at the surface running horizontally to connect plants).

 

Latin name:

Linarea dalmatica

Native to:

Europe and western and central Asia

REGIONALLY NOXIOUS

Regional Distribution:
Dalmatian toadflax is distributed in many areas of the Columbia Shuswap region.

Description:
This plant grows upright up to 1.5 metres tall. The leaves are pale green and waxy with a heart-shaped pointed tip. The plant is similar to yellow toad-flax but is larger and has heart-shaped rather than lance-shaped leaves.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit these resources: http://www.co.lincoln.wa.us/WeedBoard/biocontrol/DALMATIAN%20TOADFLAX%20BROCHURE.pdf
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/03114.html

Fun facts:
This plant spreads by roots and seeds and is similar in appearance to Snapdragons. A mature plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds which are viable for up to 10 years. The plant is toxic to livestock but is rarely consumed.

 

Latin name:

Echium vulgare

Native to:

Europe and western and central Asia

REGIONALLY NOXIOUS

Regional Distribution:
Blueweed has been located on the Revelstoke Greenbelt and sporadically distributed around the Columbia Shuswap region.

Description:
It is a perennial plant growing 30-80 cm tall. The leaves and stems are slightly hairy and can be painful to grab. The flowers are bright blue and cover the upper sides of the branches connecting to the main stem.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit these resources: Invasive Species Council of BC
http://www.weedsbc.ca/weed_desc/blueweed.html

Fun facts:
Blueweed can produce 2800 seeds per plant! Make sure none cling to your clothing or pets if you come in contact with this weed.

 

Latin name:

Iris pseudacorus

Native to:

Europe, central Asia and northwest Africa

Regional Distribution:
Yellow flag iris can be found in the shallows along the perimeter of lakes in the Shuswap region. It has naturalized from people’s gardens and can form a dense mat of rhizomes, out-competing native vegetation and reducing the quality of wetland habitats. Please do NOT purchase or plant these deceptive invasives!

Description:
Large yellow flower with broad, sword-shaped leaves. It is most easily identified when in bloom.
Yellow flag is the only iris to inhabit wetland areas; if you see it report it immediately and remove from private property.

Control:
The best control is prevention (do not plant in your garden) and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit these resources:

http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/yellow-flag-iris-control.pdf

Fun facts:
Recent efforts have been made by the White Lake Stewardship group to remove an infestation of yellow flag iris threatening the wetland there.  Check out new research on Yellow Flag Iris control in our area!

 

Latin name:

Cytisus scoparius

Native to:

Central and western Europe

Regional Distribution:
Scotch Broom has been located South of Nakusp and in patches around the Shuswap lakes.
Report this weed with your location if you come across it!

Description:
Scotch Broom is a woody perennial that can grow up to 10 feet tall.
It has green trifoliate leaves and yellow flowers.  Green to black pods begin to develop and mature after flowering has occurred.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit these resources: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/pnw103.pdf


Fun facts:
Scotch Broom is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae).
Its seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 30 years and a single plant can live to be up to 20 years of age.