I Heart Invasive Plants

I'm a fan of plants you don't have to worry about replanting. Persicaria perfoliata (recently renamed from Polygonum perfoliata, which is the information that I was provided as a Weed Warrior), Mile-A-Minute weed, is one of my favourites, because not only is it invasive and nonnative, but it also fights back pretty effectively: It has thorns, on stems, leaves, petioles... Anywhere you'd like to get a grip, it'll poke you real good! (I would never intentionally plant this, but you have to give it some respect--it's done pretty well for itself in the few decades it has been in the area! I blame the USDA for introducing it here, even though they say "We tried really hard, but it didn't work.")

I don't remember much from my aborted attempt at being a Weed Warrior for Howard County's Middle Patuxent Environmental Area--it was an hour drive from where I live and my truck ended up dying, getting fixed, and then being sold. But I remember Mile-A-Minute (in addition to garlic mustard, which does smell yummy).

I ran across this vine a week and a half ago, when I visited Laurel. Mile-A-Minute is incredibly easy to identify--besides the thorns, invasive growth habit, and easily identified triangular leaves, at each node the plant has these little growths that encircle the stem (the Internets say they're called ocreae).

Beyond the untidiness, choking out of other plants, and potential ouchies, the plant doesn't seem like such a bad character. At least its fruits add nice, vibrant colouring to an area!

Persicaria perfoliata growing up a fence. You can see the downward-pointing thorns, the triangle-shaped leaves, the ocreae on the stem above the leaves' petioles (but side growth comes out above the ocreae), and blurry on the right are unripened fruit, with an even larger ocrea-type disk thing underneath.

More leaf detail--petioles and stems have a reddish hue, as do some of the venal areas of the leaves.

The blue ripe fruit add a nice colour contrast between the green leaves and red stems, don't you think? Seems to be edible, but the folks who say that mention nothing about the invasiveness or the thorns.

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4 Responses to I Heart Invasive Plants

  1. Good grief, I turn my back for a minute, and you have produced five posts :-)

    I like the verb 'to heart', a new one on me. BTW, linguistic problem for you to solve you know where.

    Like you, many plants considered invasive are on my yes-please list. As is the honeysuckle, which I actively encourage as I adore the scent. Besides, what grows too much for others, only just about makes it in my garden.

    The blue berries on that triangular leaved climber would put me off it: the birds would only sh-t them all over my path and turn the whole thing purple. And as a rule I don't like the Polygonacae much. This is like Japanese knotweed I suppose.

    And as for the Hedera: don't blame it on the sunshine, blame it on the English :-)

  2. I'm prolific. The autopost feature on blogger also comes in real handy--so, instead of posting three posts within hours of each other, I can spread them out over days that I would otherwise be too busy to post, so each can have its own little spotlight.

    I heart the verb to heart. :-D I don't know where it came about, but I wouldn't doubt the origins lay with the "I <3 NY" T-shirts.

    And you know us, we blame more than just ivy on the English. ;)

  3. Woo yeah! Invasive plants rock!

  4. Woo yeah! Invasive plants rock!



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