A few weeks ago, Sondra Nash Eaton (local resident and manager, The Cove Cafe) posted a photo on Facebook after a walk in the woods, extolling the beauty of early flowering wildflowers. Her photo showed herb Robert, Geranium robertsianum, one of two aggressive geraniums that are moving into this region (the other is shiny geranium, G. lucidum). Both came in with nursery plants propagated in other areas, riding along in pots. Both are quite capable of crowding out other perennial herbs, and over time severely reduce species diversity. Sondra was annoyed when I pointed out that her lovely pink flowers were actually aggressive incomers, which led me to discuss why some plants go onto noxious weed lists while others don't.
|Gorse has sharp long spines and highly resinous wood; it burns easily, provides nectar for late winter to early spring foraging bees, and habitat for wasps.|
|Scots broom is similar to gorse, minus the thorns, and blooms in early to mid spring.|
A cousin, Scots broom, Cytisus scoparius, also has pea-shaped flowers, white to yellow to red, no thorns, the same ability to colonize sandy soils, and long lived seeds. Once established in a grassland, only a few small grasses, herbs and mosses grow beneath these woody shrubs. Hummingbirds may nest among gorse thorns, safe from many predators. Yellow-jackets like gorse for their nests too, as bears and other animals that eat wasp larvae are less likely to go into gorse thickets. A few summers back, a neighbor's gorse thicket had five yellow-jacket nests within about fifty feet of each other.
|Atlantic ivy carpets forests, woodlots and damages shrubs and trees. Once vines reach tree canopies, the leaves act like extra sails and help topple trees during windstorms.|
|Bluebells, Hyacinthoides species, grow in dense patches in lawns and gardens. Flowers are white, pink and blue.|
|Daffodil field north of Nahcotta on Joe Johns Road, planted by John Morehead, early 20th Century. Photo by Charles Fitzpatrick, courtesy of Columbia-Pacific Heritage Museum.|
|Dandelion is a widespread perennial herb in gardens and fields throughout North America. Spring flowering, the seeds are dispersed by air. Its summer flowering counterpart is hairy cat's-ear. Both provide habitat for European slug eggs and young.|
|English daisy is a low growing perennial herb that often lives in lawns. Like dandelions, this daisy provides nectar for native insects.|
A white flowered daisy, English daisy, Bellis perennis, also lives in lawns and tolerates mowing, with flowers shorter than mower blades, it grows in small low patches among turf grasses and mosses.