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

Premier John Horgan announces improvements to Highway 14

Construction on the $10 million project is set to begin immediately

Upgrades to Millstream overpass to begin Feb. 1

Project includes addition of left hand turn lane onto highway to Victoria

Victoria Grizzlies look to continue hot steak

Team hits the road this weekend before Family Fun Night

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

Monster trucks invade Victoria

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour stops at Save-On Foods Memorial Centre this weekend

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

LETTER: The sewage spiral continues in Greater Victoria

My left brain has been trying to digest the news and comments… Continue reading

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Most Read