Tag Archives: weeds

they’re everywhere

So there I was, a couple years ago, walking the quiet galleries of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, when I encountered this patch of urban decrepitude:

Weeds! Growing in the cracks between the walls and floors!


Well, of course, the domain of botany is usually outside the museum walls, and what you’re seeing is an art piece by Yoshihiro Suda. Each of these itty bitty little growths is actually a miniscule piece of sculpture, carved out of wood and then painted to resemble plant-life.

Suda_Weeds_At floor level

Fun, yes, but if it’s a wet wintertime in Southern California—ack!–you’ve already seen all the weeds a sane human should be expected to endure. But hey, this is art. Calm down, I told myself. As much as I wanted to do it, I resisted my natural urge to pluck the little green monstrosities and introduce them to the lifecycle of compost.


And then I start wondering. These don’t look like the typical weed species in my garden. Are these examples of the weed species the artist encounters in Japan? Or is there artistic license being exercised here?

But whatever species they are, it’s clear that these plants aren’t meant to be there, that these are weeds. To a gardener, some things are universal.

Suda_Weeds_Alt overview

when life gives you nettles

Weeds beneath Santa Cru Island buckwheat

We had pretty good rainfall in December, and early January had some nice wet stretches. Seedlings are popping up everywhere.

After a long dry Mediterranean summer it’s easy to get lulled into not checking the garden frequently for weeds. But once the rains begin things start to sprout. Every gardener probably has a few a few patches like this where things got a little out of control.

Scarlet pimpernel seedlings en masse

And then there’s this pot full of tiny scarlet pimpernel seedlings, so thick and verdant it almost looks intentional.

A big patch of Burning Nettle, Urtica urens
A big patch of Burning Nettle, Urtica urens

One of the more unpleasant weeding jobs was this patch of Burning Nettle, Urtica urens. There are a couple of native California Stinging Nettles, subspecies of U. dioica, but the one in my garden is an introduced weed of “moist disturbed places,” according to some references. This spot in the garden where it comes up every year is definitely disturbed, but it’s only moist when it’s watered by the rains.

When life gives you nettles...
When life gives you nettles…

This one’s edible, as is the California native. And if you’re willing to gear up in the kitchen with thick latex gloves, you can cook with it. Try to catch the plants when they’re young, even earlier than the ones in this shopping bag if you can get them. As you pull and prepare them pay special attention to unprotected forearms. Save “Feel the burn” for your next trip to the weight room.

Nettle pasta, anyone?
Nettle pasta, anyone?

This, my concoction–fairly unseasoned so as to serve as an introduction to fairly pure nettle flavor–wasn’t exactly one for the recipe blogs. It was like eating the color green from a tube of paints made from pure chlorophyll. Actually, before I cooked with it, I was worrying a little bit because so many of the discussions of nettle start with a long essay on its nutritional benefits. Okay, it’s good for you, but how does it taste?

But later John made up another pasta that was pretty tasty, and then followed it up with a richly-flavored variant of the many nettle soup recipes that are out on the web. Nettle has been redeemed. Good for you–but also delicious!

almost useless weeding advice

I’m sure you’ve read those earnest but wacked letters sent to advice columns, letters where the writer wants to share a piece of housekeeping ingenuity that you look at and find yourself gobsmacked by the total uselessness of the advice being offered. These letters might begin something like, “Dear Heloise, you know, I never throw out corn tassels anymore because I realized that I could use them to make wigs for my pet iguana…” (I might be making this one up. Maybe not. It doesn’t really matter.)

Both John and I had read in one of the papers a while back that you could use boiling water to control weeds. Inspired one day after making a pot of pasta, remembering what he’d read, John drained the pasta water out onto some weeds that were growing in the cracks out on the patio. Not long afterwards the weeds croaked. Somehow it all seemed to make sense.

So…at the risk of sounding too much like like Heloise…I pass on this piece of gardening advice.

You’ll have to think this method through a little before applying it to many situations in the garden. This works if you want to kill everything, like in the middle of hardscape, but probably isn’t a good idea if there might be roots of a desirable plant nearby. Also, it really does take a lot of boiling water to polish off some stubborn plants. It’s not a particularly effective or method. If you salt your pasta water to the point of seawater you might not want to introduce all the salts near fragile plants. And the hot water might even stimulate some dormant seeds into growth, since the method is almost exactly the “hot water method” that’s referred to in manuals on seed propagation.

Still, if you find yourself with a big pot of boiling water that you’d otherwise dump down the drain and have a patio full of weeds nearby, this might be just the thing to do.

While out weeding I’ve been noticing that some of the plants growing up in the cracks aren’t the standard nasty beasties that have been plaguing me over the years. These are in fact some California natives, seedlings of parents I’ve planted in the garden in places where I wanted them. The seedlings are trying to start up a new generation in places where I really don’t want them, but I’m having a hard time pulling them out.

This one’s Clarkia rubi­cunda ssp. blas­dalei. I think I’ll let it flower before removing the plant. It’s an annual, besides, so I should be able to indulge it for a month longer, to let it fulfill its biological destiny.

San Miguel Island buckwheat, Eriogonum grande var. rubescens, one of several I’ve noticed recently. I like the plant, but I’m afraid its choice of location sucks. I think I’ll be able to pull it out soon.

California sagebrush, Artemisia californica. I really hate to pull up anything with a species name of “californica,” but once again its choice of location totally sucks. So far–for over a year now–it’s avoided getting doused with pasta water or getting yanked out of the ground. But a plant in the wrong place is a plant in the wrong place.

I have to admit it. This plant, in this spot, is a weed.

january bloomday

The big aloe, Aloe arborescens, up close

Here goes… January bloomday, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.

The front garden, like the rest of my lot, mixes California natives with exotics from all over. Our local bladderpod in the foreground, yellow and perky and virtually ever-blooming, with a big clump of aloe that owns January.

Folks in colder climates may be drooling a bit, but there’s a price for year-round gardens: Year-round weeds! Since this is Bloomday, let me start off with a few weeds in bloom, doing their best to generate even more weeds. There are times when I think that it might be nice to live where you can forget about weeding for three months or more…

Weedy nightshade, right before I pulled it up
Weedy chammomile relative, Pineapple Weed
Pure yellow evil, from the big family that gives us sunflowers
Weedy grass

California native Corethrogyne (Lessingia) filaginifolia duking it out with weedy alyssum

But through the magic of photography, an artistic medium well suited to telling lies and half-truths, here are some blooms for the month. I could tell you there are no weeds around these blooming plants, but then I’d be lying. Big time.

From California, and the California floristic province:

Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea
A prostrate form of the local black sage, Salvia mellifera, picking up its flowering
Our local very fragrant nightshade, Solanum parishii
Winnifred Gilman sage, with a few scant flowers, not quite buying into the fact that spring is coming.
Tree Coreopsis or Giant Coreopsis, Coreopsis gigantea, still a ways to go before achieving tree status
San Diego Sunflower, Bahiopsis (Viguiera) lacinata, battling iceplant on the slope
One of almost a dozen monkeyflower seedlings. It is definitely partly Mimulus aurantiacus, but other species could be involved.
Verbena lilacina
A lone Coast Sunflower, Encelia californica, with way too many weeds back on the neglected slope garden
Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat, Eriogonum arborescens
Our local chaparral currant, Ribes indecorum, pleasant, not spectacular
Arctostaphylos manzanita Dr. Hurd
Astragalus nuttallii, from the California Central Coast

Okay, everyone, say awwwwww. Carpenteria california

From beyond California:

Your basic prostrate rosemary
The last of the bicolor narcissus. I didn't get the camera out while it was looking nice.
A kalanchoe species or Edit January 17 Cotyledon orbiculata--see first comment from Elephant's Eye
Your basic jade plant
Crassula multicava, a low groundcover with vaporous little jade-plant-like flowers floating above it
Arctotis Big Magenta
Another Arctotis hybrid
Your basic prostrate rosemary
People generally grow aeoniums for their foliage...
...but they also have a month or so when their flowers can upstage the plant.
And humans aren't the only species that appreciates the flowers. Look closely and you'll see quite a few ants going to town...

Two forms of Oxalis purpurea, purple- and green-leaved. It's pretty, but best contained in warmer climates where it can spread.
Sleepy Oxalis purpurea flower, slowly unfurling as the morning advances, feeling blurry until until the sun hits it.

Green rose in bud...

Green rose unfurled...looking a little less green.

Checking out the garden, photographing flowers, you get to see what’s going on in the garden. I’ve mentioned the weeds already. Now, let’s add gopher holes into the mix shall we?

While I’ve pretty much given up trying to control the gophers, I can at least pick away at the weeding. Okay, enough blogging for now. Time to pull some weeds. But maybe I’ll check out a few more Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts first…

a new weed

This past winter I was noticing a weed popping up all around the yard that I hadn’t noticed before. I was mentioning it to John, and added, “I’m not sure what it is, though think it could be some sort of euphorbia.”

Then in the gently tactful way spouses have of correcting you and pointing out your blind spots he quietly cleared his throat and pointed to one of the four young potted plants we have around the garden of Euphorbia lambii, one of my dry garden-adapted plants from the Canary Islands. “Maybe it’s that?”

Uh, like duh. What else would it be?

Last year was the first that these plants bloomed, and this spring they bloomed with a vengeance. During sunny weather over the last few weeks I’ve heard little popping noises from the direction of the plants, and have come to the conclusion that the sounds were that of seed pods exploding and jettisoning the dust-like seed everywhere.

I may come to regret the day I introduced these to the garden, which according to my records is March 9, 2008.

Speaking of weedy plants, here’s another surprise seedling from the garden, a little baby red fountain grass, one of three seedlings I noticed this year. In recent years the related green fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum has become a noxious (though stunningly beautiful) weed and has landed high on virtually every thou-shalt-not-plant list issued for California. But many people gave a by to this related red plant. It was often pushed as being sterile and incapable of reproducing by seed, a piece of misinformation even I relayed in this blog. (I’ve corrected that earlier oops in case anyone reads that earlier post.) As you can see here it can reproduce by seed, though this form doesn’t spawn the same way regular fountain grass does. Nor is it immediately the same monster pest that feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) can be.

Poking around the web I found an updated plant description at San Marcos Growers that includes some interesting background on this plant:

Recent work in preparation for the grass sections of the Flora of North America, which will include naturalized and cultivated grasses, indicates that the name chosen for this plant will be Pennisetum advena or perhaps P. x advena. Dr. Joseph K. Wipff, previously with Texas A&M and now a turfgrass breeder, wrote the section on Pennisetum and has indicated that Red Fountain Grass is most likely a cross between P. setaceum and P. macrostachys (AKA ‘Burgundy Giant’). As a hybrid the name would most appropriately be Pennisetum x advena ‘Rubrum’. The latin word advena means “newly arrived” or “stranger.”

So is it safe to plant this form of fountain grass? Here’s my thinking: Hybrids between species are often sterile. (Think of mules, the offspring of a horse and a donkey.) But every now and then something happens that allows the hybrid to reproduce. Sometimes the seedlings will be just as nearly sterile as the immediate parent, but other times a mutation could render the seedling entirely fertile. In that latter scenario the nearly-sterile fountain grass could turn into something with the ugly invasive potential of its Pennisetum setaceum ancestor.

In other words, today I would be cautious and not plant it. Unfortunately, almost twenty years ago, we designed the front yard around a big mound of the stuff. The plants look stunning and move graciously in response to the breezes. Their size is perfect for the spot, and their red color is unmatched among other grasses. Every now and then I look at other options, like those recommended in the Don’t Plant a Pest brochure put out by the California Invasive Plant Council. But these lists often fall short in the alternatives they offer and end up reading like, “Cheesecake is bad for you. Would you like to eat this delicious raw rutabaga instead?” So…I’m still looking for the perfect replacement plant–hopefully some sort of native, but in the meantime I’m pulling the occasional seedlings.

plant it once, have it forever

There’s a prominent Northern California nursery* that advertises on its website that a variety will self-sow and naturalize. Or in its peppy, enthusiastic way: “Reseeds!” One of the plants so listed has a followup note: “Due to agricultural restrictions, we cannot ship this plant to Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.”

Read between the lines: This plant, under the right conditions, might just run wild, out of control, and take over your garden or an ecosystem! (Not all plant restrictions are based on their invasive potential, however. For instance, some might be controlled because of known pests or diseases the species may harbor.)

Over the years I’ve added interesting plants to the garden, only to have them sow and propagate themselves all over the garden. For most of these, I don’t worry huge amounts that they’ll escape to the nearby wilds because they’re wimps when not pampered in a garden, but with regular watering they’re aggressive thugs. Pretty thugs, to be sure. But still thugs.

Here are a few of my mistakes. Some are merely annoying. Others require multiple hours of labor every year to keep under control. Colder areas might not have the same problems with these that I do, but I’m sure you have your own monsters. (My apologies in advance to the fine nation of Mexico. I just noticed that four of my selections have “Mexican” in their common names…)

Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana). Pretty, tough. Also pretty tough to eradicate in my garden once it got a foothold. I should have paid attention when the guy at the plant sale warned me that it might spread. According to Floridata, “Mexican petunia is listed as a Category I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. This means that it is ‘altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives.’ This warning applies to all parts of the state of Florida (and other areas with similar mild climates). Where hardy, the Mexican petunia excels at invading wetlands.” It also can be a nuisance in a dry garden like mine where it spreads underground and via exploding seed pods.

Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta). Maybe it’s a uniquely California thing: You go out to the garden to pull weeds, and along with the crabgrass and spurge, you end up pulling up little palm trees. Folks in colder climes might be thrilled to have some of these, but here they’re a nuisance. Our Mexican fan came with the house, and it took us a few years to finally remove it. All that time we were yanking baby palms all over the front yard, and the seedbank remained viable for several years afterward.

Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima). I’ve dinged this plant several times before. I won’t add anything more here other than to note that I’ve probably pulled up a hundred seedlings this season. At least this is down from the orgy of seedlings that I had when there was a harem of adult plants in the garden that apparently had nothing on their mind except sex and reproduction.

Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera species, I think it was O. speciosa). I was on vacation at the Grand Canyon in 1991. Innocently I bought a packet of seeds of these that were sold as a “wildflower.” I was thrilled when they came up the first year and I had a gregarious patch of delicate bright pink flowers where there’d been a patch of dirt previously. Little did I know they’d resow and spread by underground runners and continue to annoy me to this day. Wild flower, indeed.

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima). Don’t let the “sweet” in its common name fool you. I continue to weed alyssum seedlings popping up around the garden from a single packet of mixed colors I planted in the late 1980s.

Fortnight lily (Dietes iridioides). A few clumps of these came with the house. The tough, hard seeds lay dormant in the ground for years and plague you with unwanted seedlings long after you’ve removed their source.

Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica). I’ll have to admit that I have a soft spot for these plants and don’t pull them out the same way I pull out other unwelcome plants. My parent’s house came with a fifty-foot foundation planting of them on the north side of their house. The way the plant can spread, however, now makes me think the previous owners might have started with just a half dozen plants. Feral callas are plants of concern in some California wetlands. A couple well-watered garden spots seem to generate calla lilies out of thin air.

Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides). I won’t quite call planting this Mexican herb a mistake, since I use occasionally in cooking. It does spread about the garden a bit, however, and pops up in unexpected places. There are reports [ including this one ] that it’s colonized parts of New York’s Central Park–though that’s not my doing. I popped over to Wikipedia and learned this pretty interesting detail I’d never heard before: “Epazote essential oil contains ascaridole…; in pure form, it is an explosive sensitive to shock.” Botanical TNT–Wild!

To my mistakes, I’ll add some native California annuals and perennials that have been really successful in reproducing themselves in my garden. Currently, my plants are wandering around an area where they’re desired and haven’t escaped far. I won’t call them mistakes at this point, but I can see that they could become unwelcome in some situations.

California poppies (Escholzia californica). What? Our sacred state flower?! Well, there are some unwelcome escaped colonies in Chile and Australia. And the seeds regularly find their way into cracks in the pavement.

Baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii). Not really what I’d call a thug, though these seem to be pretty successful at reproducing themselves. It’s easy to pull out the occasional unwanted plants, but who’d want to?

Clarkia (Clarkia spp.). I haven’t grown many clarkia species, but the one that seems to wander around the most for me is C. rubicunda ssp. blasdalei.

*There’s a good chance you’ll have guessed the identity of this well-known nursery if you’ve spent any time at its website. I don’t mean to diss them at all. You can get potentially rambunctious plants from virtually all nurseries, including those dedicated to native plants.

no storms this weekend

Finally. A weekend with good weather and no major outside commitments. The local paper recently noted that of eight weekends, six had been wet and stormy. Outdoor leisure businesses were hurting, the paper noted. I’d guess plantsellers would be in the same situation, though I really think gardening is much too important a thing to even begin to call “leisure.”

One of the commitments that ate into the free time was a family birthday that we celebrated at a rental condo down on Mission Beach (San Diego Beach House). That was the day of the mega-earthquake in Chile and the international tsunami alerts. A pretty bizarre day for a party.

Lifeguards a few miles up the coast noted some abnormal tidal action that they thought had something to do with the tsunami, but we were enough in celebration mode that we didn’t notice it.

Somewhere during the afternoon someone was alert enough to spot a boat in distress. Here it is through binoculars.

That was another stormy, dramatic weekend, however, and the boat’s problems had more to do with the brutal on-shore winds and big waves.

Leaving the beach I photographed this sign. I’d noticed it before and almost thought that it was a joke. That day I wasn’t so sure anymore.

The time at the beach with the was dramatic as all get out, and we sure need the rain. But where there’s rain, there’s weeds.

So this weekend I’ll be spending a lot of the weekend outside, in the sun, pulling weeds. Absolutely, there are worse things to have to do, but with so many wet weekends the weeds have gotten so far ahead of me I hardly know where to start.

Much of the weeding will be like this: one tiny little keeper plant mixed in with dozens of interlopers. There’s a desert marigold seedling (Baileya multiradiata) mixed in this mess. Somewhere.

I’ll enjoy my time in the sun, but leisure? I think not.

out with the old

Feathergrass in the ground

This will be the year that I finally win the battle against Mexican feathergrass, the blogger said optimistically. I doubt that I’ll be seeing the end of this beautiful but wildly overprolific grass any time soon, but I’ve completed pulling all the parent plants in the garden. With the source of seeds removed, the hundreds of unwanted seedlings that I have to pull up every year should diminish.

Feathergrass seedlings under sage

So how bad was the feathergrass problem? Here’s a shot underneath a black sage in the back yard, no closer than seventy-five feet from the nearest adult feathergrass plant capable of setting seed. The seed just blew downwind and set up household in the sheltered germinating conditions in the shade of the sage. Other areas of the garden will look like this when the rains begin again and all the banked seed begins to germinate. I hate to think that these might get to the local urban canyon, four houses away.

My relationship with Mexican feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima or Stipa tenuissima) started off in the early 1990s. Like most people who’ve planted it, I saw it at the nursery with its stalks weaving delicately in its beguiling come-hither way and fell in love. I bought two.

At first things between us went well. The grasses spread a bit, but the thought of free plants were a real bonus. I even gave plants away.

Though prolific, the plant isn’t currently listed as an invasive species on the master Cal-IPA inventory, but appears on a 2007 list of nominated species. It’s clear from some of the comments on a Fresh Dirt posting that it’s a growing problem in some areas, my neighborhood included.

Feathergrass in the trash

Yes, the stuff is gorgeous. But too high maintenance and potentially problematic in my area. It’s time for us to part ways.

So how will I get my fix for delicate, feathery grasses? This year has been my first time growing the native Aristida purpurea, purple three-awn, a species that’s found locally. The plant is shorter than the common feathergrass, which might be a bonus, depending on your garden situation. And unlike the nassella it has a decidedly purple color to it while it’s growing–very nice. I’ll post photos once my plants get a little bigger. I have no idea if it’ll be the same issue of the plant volunteering all over the garden, though I doubt it. Even if it escapes to the wilds, it’ll be in the company of others of its species. Not a problem.

two saturdays

A couple hours of community service: Sounds a little like a sentence handed down by a judge, but it was actually how I spent some of last Saturday. I’ve posted earlier about the native plant garden at Old Town State Historic Park. That trip I was walking the paths and enjoying garden.


But this time I was a volunteer helping maintain this interesting young garden. Much of the time I was squatted down in the dirt pulling up little palm trees. If you live in another part of the world you might think that pulling up palm trees is a bizarre thing to do. But palm seedlings are a very real weed around here, especially when there are still actively fruiting palms nearby, and when there’s still an active seedbank left from one of the palms that was removed to make way for the garden.




In just one month since my last visit, the number of flowers had diminished as we head into our long brown season when many plants approach dormancy. There were some splashy clarkia flowers remaining, as well as this mallow from the Channel Islands.

There were other weeds to pull at, and the day ended with a quick pruning demonstration and a demonstration on one way to maintain deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens). With this big, dramatic grass you can let the stems go brown–which is an easy-maintenance approach to this plant. Or you can reach down on each of the old flowering stems, feel for a joint a couple inches above the base of the plant, and pull. muhlenbergia-rigensIf you find the node, the stem yanks out without much resistance. It’s not a chore you can do easily while wearing thick gloves, and without gloves you’ve likely to shred your hands. Fortunately this a grass that looks stately and architectural whether or not you pull the dried stems. We left most of the plants as they were.

After just two hours of tidying the garden looked even better and ready for the dry months ahead.

Jump ahead one week…


Even though June is typically one of our dry months, today was cool and drizzly as John and I headed for the Master Gardener’s plant sale at Balboa Park.


We parked near the park’s jumbo Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla). It’s an amazing plant, but like many figs, it’s not a good choice if you’re concerned about keeping your home’s foundation intact. I was appreciative of having the park, a great publicly-funded shared space, where you can go to enjoy spectacular plants that don’t make sense to plant in most home spaces.


Rain or shine, the people make a trail to this plant sale. This is half an hour before the sale, with all these brave souls standing in the heavy mist waiting to get first crack at this year’s offerings.


…and this is during the first few minutes of the sale.

Some highlights this year were bromeliads from Balboa Park’s propagation program–big plants for the price of a Happy Meal–and an entire table of different salvias. As thrilled as I am with the genus salvia, I resisted the temptations. No space in the garden is no space in the garden.


But John didn’t show the same restraint. He likes his succulents. And the more unlabeled the succulent is the better. I swear he does this to drive me crazy, knowing how much I like my plant names. (The succulent expert on site looked at it and said that it’s some sort of crassula relative, which is what I’d have called it. Okay, we have a family name, and now only 1400 species to go through… Any help out there?)

Although we didn’t end up dropping a lot of change on this sale, many people with more space in the gardens found interesting plants to populate their spaces. And the proceeds from the sale go to a good cause.

So these two Saturdays showed a couple way you can help the botanical organizations around town. You can donate your labor. Or you can do what comes naturally for most Americans: Go shopping!

the chrysanthemum problem


All around town, both roadside and trailside, the garland chrysanthemums have been blooming.


The perky spawn of plants that have been grown for centuries in China and Japan for their tasty young green leaves, Chrysanthemum coronarium has come to be a big nuisance in many disturbed areas of Southern California.


But rather than getting all negative and cursing the plant, let me try a different tack to try to encourage everyone to rip it out by its pretty little roots:

Did you know that 100 grams of boiled garland chrysanthemum provides 51% of your recommended daily requirements of vitamin A, 40% of vitamin C, 21% of iron, and has only 20 calories? (That’s according to healthalicious.com.)


OregonLive.com offers some kitchen ideas for garland chrysanthemum: “Lightly saute the leaves and stems or whole 4- to 6-inch seedlings with sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and soy sauce… Eat raw in salad, add to soups containing fresh ginger, or dunk in fritter batter and deep-fry.”

(Be sure your greens come from a site other than a roadside that might have been sprayed with herbicides by the city. And be sure you’re eating garland chrysanthemum instead of the somewhat similar bush sunflower (encelia) or San Diego sunflower (viguiera).)


There are of course other reasons to pull up this plant. The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve site puts it succinctly: “[C]hrysanthemum forms fields that overtake native plants such as California buckwheat and sagebrush–both these plants provide food and shelter for native birds, insects and other animals.”

So in the end garland chrysanthemum is the perfect weed. Whether you respond to thoughts of a healthy snack or to appeals of doing what you can to make the world a better place, you can get out your weeding tools and go to town.

A final thought: Wouldn’t it be great for green-conscious restaurants to offer tasty and hip entrees on their menu that contain locally-harvested garland chrysanthemum greens that otherwise would have been damaging the ecosystem? Or maybe we could stock stalls at farmer’s markets with piles of the stuff? Why not turn this over-abundant invasive plant into a resource that could be cropped, improving the local landscape at the same time?

Eat up, everyone!

This post is dedicated to Outofdoors, who first thought up the idea of dedicating the 13th of the month to posts on invasive species.