Saturday, March 18, 2017

Upcoming Invasive Species

Not good news, but there are some new invasive species that are slowly making their way to us. Rachelle McElroy from the Costal Invasive Species Committee mentioned them at our last meeting. If you see one of these, report it.

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) looks like a fern or like parsnips, carrots, and parsley. It is present on south Vancouver Island now. It can be found in poorly drained soils, especially near streams and ditches. You may also find it on roadsides and the edge of cultivated fields.
In ancient Greece, it was used to poison condemned prisoners. In 399 BC, Socrates was given it after being condemned to death for impiety and corrupting the young men of Athens.



Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) is a foul-smelling annual. The stem forks repeatedly and each for forms a leaf and single flower. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, white or violet.
It has been used in traditional medicine as analgesic and it’s a powerful hallucinogen. The alkaloids responsible for these uses are fatally toxic in slightly higher doses than the medicinal dose.

Blessed milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is not the type used medicinally (that would be blessed thistle, Cnicus benedictus). It is highly invasive and forms dense stands. To differentiate from other thistles, notice leaves are marbled and the flower head is spiny.

Blueweed (Echium vulgare) is present in BC’s Interior now. It is common on roadsides, drainage ditches, fence lines, and pastures. Blueweed has bright blue flowers and its hairy stems are painful to the touch. It produces up to 2800 seeds per plant. The rough seeds stick to clothing, hair, and feathers.


  1. Has anyone seen these in the Powell River region?

    1. Rachelle said they weren't here yet, at least no one had reported any of them, and if we didn't know what to look for, of course we wouldn't report. It would be good to know if anyone sees them once word gets out. They are pretty close if they are on the Island.

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