Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pernicious weeds

In honor of [info]galixie's fancy new disease, this week I am featuring pernicious weeds for my 100 species challenge.

3. Bindweed
Already knew: Also called False Morning Glory is the devil in plant form. People around here tend to call it Morning Glory, but that's because we don't have real Morning Glory around here. Real Morning Glory looks exactly the same, climbs up fences and trees. It is delicate and hard to take care of everywhere except California. The False version does the exact same thing, except if you don't keep it in check and, it will kill your trees, and take over your yard. The only way to get rid of it is to pull out the tendrils, by the root, before it flowers, dry the bits on a non porous surface and throw them in the trash. Then, cover the infected area with bark, or a plastic tarp if you are hard core, and repeat as necessary. This process could take a few years, if you are lucky and the source is actually on your property. If it's coming from your neighbors, like ours is, you are screwed. The house we lived in when I was a teenager had False Morning Glory growing under the deck, and the eventual solution was to rip out the deck and put in brick pavers.
Recently learned: The latin name is Convolvulus, which makes me giggle. Apparently the evil variety that grows around here is related to about 250 other varieties of Convolvulus, many of which are not evil. Go figure.

4. Himalayan Blackberry
Already knew: This is what grows alongside of every untended road around here. Sometimes you will see Bindweed and Himalayan Blackberry fighting each other for dominance. I root for the blackberry, but only because it bears fruit. Speaking of the fruit, while not as tender as the local wild blackberries, it is sweeter. Plus, Himalayan Blackberry makes a quick easy jam, as it has a ridiculous amount of pectin, therefore, you barely need to add sugar. Just make sure that you pick some under ripe fruits along with the ripe ones, which is easy enough because you can't see past the thorns well enough to see all sides of the berries you want to pick. Picking season around here is the end of September through the end of October. There are no berries that look like a blackberry that are poisonous, so if you are ever in the woods hungry trying to decide if the yellow blackberry looking things are edible, yes.
Recently learned: It's also called Armenian Blackberry. It arrived in the US in 1885 as a cultivated plant, and quickly escaped. Bad berry.

1. California Poppy
2. Chinese Lantern

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