Metchosin resident Kathy Atherton

Metchosinites stop invasive plant in its tracks

Despite its pretty yellow flowers, tansy ragwort – like broom – is not welcome

When Kathy Atherton sees the golden glow of tansy ragwort, she hones in for the kill.

“I pull it wherever I see it,” she said of the invasive plant, which can be removed easily due to its shallow root system. “The roots usually aren’t substantial. If they’ve been cut with a mower, the roots get much stronger.”

Around her home on La Bonne Road and up Liberty Drive in Metchosin, ragwort is getting harder to find, but it once flourished. “I have been pulling it for 12 to 15 years, just yanking it out whenever I see it.”

Atherton hopes others take similar initiative and nip the problem in the bud before it becomes more pervasive, as has Scotch broom.

“I suddenly realized, if we let this plant keep growing it’ll just keep moving. It’s a survivor,” she said.

The tansy ragwort is more often found in rural areas, such as Metchosin, East Sooke, Sooke and on the Saanich Peninsula.

“I’ve seen masses of it on the Malahat,” Atherton said.

She encourages volunteers in Metchosin to join Tackle Tansy Ragwort Day, July 28. People can participate by pulling the plant on their own properties or heading out to public areas such as the Galloping Goose Trail.

“We are having this day to raise people’s awareness of it.”

The plant can be poisonous if eaten by cattle, horses or goats. While the animals wouldn’t instinctively eat it, the plant can get mixed into hay fields and accidentally be fed to animals.

“It’s cumulative and the toxicity builds up over time,” Atherton said.

On the other hand, sheep can tolerate the plant to some extent and can be used as a biological control to keep the plant’s spread in check.

As well, cinnabar moths have been brought in from Europe to help control the plant. They eat the flowers and work their way down the plant.

“I’ve seen patches of ragwort that don’t have cinnabar moths on them and I am considering bringing some from other plants,” Atherton said. “Tansy ragwort doesn’t recognize borders.”

To volunteer to pull ragwort in a specific area or to partner up with someone else on July 28, call Atherton at 250-474-1016.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations draw hundreds

Premier John Horgan joins ceremony at Royal Roads University

Police call off search for missing kayaker in East Sooke

The investigation is now considered a missing person case

Large Oak Bay tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and district investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Emergency crews aid injured man at Thetis Lake Park

Crews transport patient back to main beach by boat

Dead geese near Esquimalt Lagoon draws ire of resident

City says ‘several’ geese struck by vehicles recently

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Suspect identified in Dollar Tree robbery

Security footage and witness statements lead to identification

Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

Numbers are up, way up, for bike-related visits to the province

Most Read