Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fletcher Wildlife Garden Visit in Ottawa

In the interest of learning to be able to definitively identify two very invasive plans I visited the Fletcher Wildlife Garden in Ottawa to see the live weeds. In particular I was curious to learn more of the “dog strangling vine” or Black swallow-wort [Cynanchum nigrum] and the Garlic Mustard [Alliaria petiolata]. The garlic mustard was pretty well under control through active volunteer weeding programs, however the swallow-wort situation was another story. According to my colleague, at the FWG this weed is actually pale swallow-wort[Cynanchum rossicum], not black, and it has literally taken over the forest floor. I was personally amazed to see such a phenomenon. It has completely choked raspberry bushes for example, and is even taking over tall standing grass. The term “dog strangling vine seems to be applied to either species (Black or Pale) of Swallow-wort. Pale swallow-wort has become a major problem in up state New York as described at this website: and also in Ontario such as the Don and Rouge Valleys in the middle of Toronto.

I arrived on time today to be volunteered to weed some garlic mustard, which I did willingly. Identifying the plant now is pretty well ingrained. I do not yet know of any occurrences of these weeds on this property and feel confident that I will now be able to identify either weed at a glance.