Weed Warrior: Common Tansy is toxic, but what’s with all the Oxeye Daisy & Foxtail Barley?

Pictured above: Common Tansy. Below. Red Columbine, Eastern Red Columbine, Foxtail Barley

Common Tansy is a noxious weed that has toxic oil that can give you a rash if you touch the plant without protective clothing.

Fortunately, this invasive plant with yellow button-like flowers that spreads by roots and long-lasting seeds is not found in as many Cranbrook locations as in other years. My wife and I went on the hunt this week and only found it in one location, hiding among a zillion other weeds near the Elizabeth Lake slough.

Talking about other invasive weeds, it looks like Cranbrook and area is trying to become the Oxeye Daisy and Foxtail Barley capital of B.C. I can understand ignoring fairly harmless Oxeye Daisy proliferation, but Foxtail Barley has seeds like porcupine quills that can cause serious abscesses in pets that these burrowing seeds worm their way into. It should not be lining the many streets that citizens walk their unsuspecting dogs along.

Foxtail Barley should definitely not be allowed to take over the parking area of the Victoria Avenue dog Park.

Okay, rant’s done — let’s get back to the Grow-me-Insteads (GMIs) for Common Tansy. Tall Coneflower is an Ontario native that thespruce.com says plant breeders have turned into a “Rock Star of the Garden,” offering many colourful varieties. Be alert though, it can be an escape artist!

Summer Sunflowers are popular, just ask the deer in my neighbourhood. According to Richardsonsflowers.com, Greek Mythology has it that a nymph who couldn’t keep her eyes off Apollo, the handsome Sun God, was turned into a Sunflower. And still today, Sunflowers stare longingly at the Sun as it moves across the sky from dawn till dusk.

Morden Eldorado Garden Mum is a pretty fancy name for a flower from Manitoba. Plantwise.ca tells us that this hardy beauty, with Double Yellow flowers was developed at the Morden Agricultural research Station.

Flat-top Goldentop, according to the USDA, can get kind of weedy, so perhaps we should give this GMI a pass.

Canada Goldenrod, although native to northeast North America, is considered invasive by Ontario and other parts of our continent. You can see it in the run-off swale along upper 14th Avenue in Cranbrook.

Red Columbine is promoted by wildflower.org because of its beauty and long drooping flowers that Hummingbirds and other long-tongued pollinators are attracted to.

The website also says rubbing Columbine’s crushed seeds on lonely guys’ hands is a Love-charm.

Weed Warrior Frank


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