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Photo by Sam Leninger
Lesser celandine can be more, and not in a good way posted on 03/01/2018

The welcome sight of crocus and daffodils will soon herald the coming of spring. But lurking in the wings will be the loathsome invaders.

Joining the unsavory species such as policeman’s helmet, Scotch broom, knotweed, ragwort, hawkweed – all of which have been exposed in previous issues of The Mountain Times – comes another invasive, the lesser celandine.

Don’t be fooled by its pretty presentation. It dresses up in bright and shiny yellow flowers that hover on 6 to 8-inch stems over a sea of glossy heart-shaped green leaves.

“Folks are starting to get anxious to start working in their yards,” said Lisa Kilders, education and outreach program manager for the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District. “We think this is a good time to catch their attention about a particularly aggressive invasive weed. Lesser celandine can take over not only our yards, but also invades natural areas.”

The plant only blooms for a few weeks in late winter or early spring and then its flowers and leaves quickly wither away, Kilders added. “During this critical period, it can prevent growth of native and ornamental plants in gardens and natural areas by shading and secreting growth-suppressing chemicals into the soil. These adaptations allow it to out-compete more desirable plants, reducing diversity and aesthetics in your garden. It does best in damp, disturbed areas, but is competitive in many locations.”

Lesser celandine is also toxic to most mammals, including humans and livestock.

 

Removing lesser celandine

To get rid of this weed, carefully dig them up and dispose of them as trash. Be careful to not lose track of its finger-like bulbs that easily separate and establish new plants. For large infestations, herbicides with active ingredients of glyphosate and triclopyr are effective when applied soon after the plant starts flowering. It is critically important to apply according to the label instructions and to only in allowed settings.

You will also benefit from establishing and promoting competing vegetation.

Find additional invasive species information at weedwise.conservationdistrict.org.

By Larry Berteau/MT

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