The Weed Warrior: Common Periwinkle-bad, Kinnickinnick-good!

Pictured above: Kinnickinnick. Below, top to bottom: Small-flowered alumroot, False Lily of the Valley, Bunchberry, Woodland Strawberry

Vine-like Common Periwinkle a has become a serious problem in the Lower Mainland. The Invasive Species Council of B.C. (ISCBC) says it can form dense mats on the forest floor, along stream banks and suppress native plants that local pollinators rely on.

Let’s not bring it to the East Kootenay region.

Non-invasive alternatives you can purchase instead, are Bunchberry, Woodland Strawberry, False Lily-of-the-Valley, Small-flowered Alumroot and Kinnickinnick.

Bunchberry is a native plant found all over B.C. According to Alberta Plant Watch, its small white flowers release an explosion of pollen when an insect touches the hair-like trigger on one of the four closed petals of each blossom.

Deer, grouse and songbirds love the scarlet-red fruit of Bunchberry.

The Gardening Knowhow website tells us Woodland (wild) Strawberry is another white-flowered native plant having small tasty berries that are enjoyed by many birds, animals and foraging people.

The website also explains that store-bought strawberries are a hybrid cross between Woodland and European Strawberries.

Don’t confuse white-flowered Wild Strawberries with yellow-flowered Indian Mock Strawberries that are basically tasteless.

E-flora of B.C indicates False Lily-of-the-Valley and Small-flowered Alum Root are coastal plants that are not native to the East Kootenays. So, they may not prosper here.

The freshroots.ca blog tells us Kinnickinnick is a local red-berried plant. Its berries and leaves are enjoyed by wildlife; and First Nation peoples use them ceremonially and medicinally.

Let’s all be responsible citizens and only plant ornamentals that are environmentally friendly.

Weed Warrior Frank

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