Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Beautiful alien

Scotch broom is horribly invasive, toxic to animals, a fire hazard, and a killer of native plants. Besides which, it makes me sniffle and sneeze.

But it is beautiful, for all that.

Broom against the sky, Myrt Thompson trail.

Broom zoom.

When I was a child in White Rock, (1950 or thereabouts) a large house along Buena Vista street was fenced with masses of broom. In season, I would go out of my way to pass them on the way home from school.

Back then, it was purposely planted, as an ornamental, and to reduce erosion. And it grew well anywhere, needing no care. Its stems are photosynthetic, so it continues to grow through the winter, when most of our other plants shut down.

Now it's taking over the south end of Vancouver Island, pushing out our native berries and evergreen trees, destroying range land and endangering wildlife.

Shrubs grow 1-3 metres in height and have a lifespan of 15-20 years. ... Mature plants can produce up to 3500 pods, each containing 5-12 seeds. As seedpods dry they split and spiral, expelling the contained seeds near the parent plant. Seedpods are hardy, remaining viable in water, soil and gravel for more than 30 years! (Invasive Species Council)

It's too bad it's beautiful.

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