Sunday, April 03, 2011

Naturalized immigrants

The above attractive-looking flowers are Mayweed Chamomille, an invasive Mediterranean plant now edemic on the Pacific coast. They are the bane of farmers because they spring up wherever the soil is disturbed -- like, say, in my back yard, or in a wheat field -- and have rather nasty-smelling (and tasting) foliage. They're officially a "nuisance plant".

The above clover-looking plant with lots of yellow flowers is Bermuda Sorrel, another invasive naturalized immigrant native to South Africa. They're very hard to get rid of, short of removing the top four inches of soil and replacing it altogether, because they make lots of little bulbs.

Both of these are living in the shadow of a fence that's about to be replaced, thus why I haven't done anything to it this year, because the workers are going to trample all over while they're putting in the new fence. Besides, I was curious about what would come up if I left it alone, whether there would be any wildflowers. Well, yes... but not native ones. Oh well!

-- Badtux the Non-gardening Penguin


  1. Dandelions -- that bane of all lawn adherents -- are not native to the Great North West. They are here because one, Doc Yessler, A lotion and potion merchant from 'back east', brought them in his trunk of necessities to carry on his trade. The story goes that, arrived at the dock, his baggage off-loaded around him, he opened the boxes of seeds, and, lifting them high o'erhead, scattered them to the three winds he favored. In following seasons he gathered many a vintage for Dandelion Wine and other potions. He was a major founder of Seattle (i.e.: Pirate) And generations of suburban lawn mowers have cursed him since, seldom knowing who they cursed.
    We, personally, call them pretty 'dandy lays' and change the subject.
    Factual info above is mostly from "Sons of the Profits -- A history of Seattle" by William C. Spiedel. Available from the usual hangouts.

  2. Dandelions are at least edible. The same cannot be said of Mayweed Chamomille, which is rather nasty, and Bermuda Sorrel is only barely edible (and only in small quantities, because it has a sour taste and contains chemicals that can contribute to kidney stones). I suppose they got brought over because they were pretty and people wanted them for their flower gardens, but they've turned into invasive nuisances that are almost impossible to get rid of...

    -- Badtux the Immigrant-hating(*) Penguin

    (* When said immigrants are invasive plants with no redeeming values that idiots brought from overseas because they had "pretty flowers").

  3. I believe the same is true of starlings.

    An Hungarians, come to think of it.


  4. Hungarians, like dandelions, at least have some redeeming qualities. The same cannot be said of starlings or mayweed chamomille :).

    - Badtux the likes-useful-immigrants Penguin

  5. You could always plant wildflowers. I planted a couple of California poppies a few years ago on a whim. One plant promptly died but the other flourished, and set seed... and now my yard is awash in poppies come spring.


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