And we’re back with more noxious weeds of the Las Vegas area! If you read our last article, you know the basics like what a noxious weed is. To catch up the new readers, a noxious weed is an invasive, non native weed that enters an area and is actually detrimental to the local wildlife and ecosystem as a whole. They can be downright terrible for an area and the Nevada Department of Agriculture has a complete list of them, so local residents can stay aware and report any outbreaks. It sometimes seems like a bit much over a silly weed, but it can be a very serious subject.
Our last article kicked off our noxious weed series and introduced us to three from the list of almost fifty. We discussed African Mustard, Camelthorn, and Silverleaf Nightshade. The last one can actually kill small animals, including your very own cat or dog. Now it’s time to look at three more of these pesky plants and learn how to identify them for a safer, healthier garden.
- Canada Thistle – also known as cirsium arvense, Canada Thistle is actually part of the sunflower family and can be recognized by its four foot tall steam and cluster of flowers at the very tip. These small flowers can be pink, purple, or white. It has a very deep root system that makes it near impossible for other plants to root in the same soil, crowding out the native vegetation.
- Black Henbane – if you see an up to three foot stem with long sticky hairs and a yellow funnel shaped flower with a purple center, stay away! You might have just encountered hyoscyamus niger, or Black Henbane. It’s so poisonous, that merely smelling the scent of its flowers causes giddiness and hallucinations. If you get too close or, worse, touch it, you can experience anything from dry mouth and soreness to coma or convulsions. There have even been reports of death.
- Dyer’s Woad – maybe not as exciting as our previous entry since it won’t kill you, isatis tintoria is still worth mentioning. It can grow up to four feet tall and has a very unique appearance. The leaves all the way up the cluster of stems are blue grey. And the yellow flowers on top are in spread out clusters that make it look flattened out, sort of like a tree. It used to be used for dyeing, but is native only to Europe. It can be harmful to our local Las Vegas greenery. So, even though it’s being studied for possible cancer battling effects, it is considered noxious.
Looks like you’re starting to become quite the noxious weed expert! Be sure to check back soon as we continue exploring the pesky and the deadly of Las Vegas weeds. Until next time, remember to call the Nevada Department of Agriculture with any noxious weed sightings. Do your part to keep our ecosystem healthy and growing.We want future generations to enjoy our native gardening as much as we do, don’t we?