Vine (Cynanchum nigrum)|
plant, also called Black Swallowwort, is a herbaceous twining perennial of Eurasian
origin. It is found in many areas in Altona Forest. It is in the milkweed family.
It is commonly found near the fence line where the native plants have been disturbed.
It is also found in some areas near the path. It is well named as thickets of
this plant can entangle medium sized animals such as dogs. It becomes particularly
thick like a low mat in September and early October.
vine is a perennial which often grows along the ground and elevates itself to
a height of .5 to 1.5 m or it will use trees, other plants and fences to climb.
It has 5 lobed purple flowers, stems which are strong and flexible and opposite
simple lilac-like leaves.
Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.)
loosestrife is a perennial wetland herb. It was introduced from Europe, probably
by accident, in the 1800s. Because it has no natural enemies here, it has spread
aggressively and is now widely found in meadows, river flood-plains, and damp
roadsides throughout most of Ontario and the rest of North America. In Altona
Forest, it is found along some trails and in and around the wetland.
root system chokes out native plants and eventually this weed fills in ponds and
marshes. It does not provide food or shelter for our wildlife but crowds out those
plants which do provide these necessary things and so where it invades, valuable
wildlife habitat is destroyed.
seems to be no natural enemy of purple loosestrife in Canada. Five insects from
Europe could potentially provide long-term control without harming native flora
or fauna. Leaf-eating beetle adults and larvae as well as root mining weevil larvae
are now being studied for their possible use against this most intrusive plant.
The University of Guelph is testing a natural insect enemy of the loosestrife.
This insect, the Galerucella beetle, larvae and adult, live exclusively on a diet
of loosestrife. It is being sold in Ontario to conservation authorities, cottage
owners and some businesses.
perennial weed reproduces by seeds. The stems are from 60 -120 cm high, with branches
and fine hairs. The stem is more or less square in cross-section which resembles
the Mint family. This shape can be felt if the stem is rolled between the thumb
and finger. The leaves are opposite or sometimes whorled (3 or more per node),
stalkless, broad near the base and tapering towards the tip.
6-petaled flowers are seen in dense very showy terminal spikes made up of red-purple
petals 7 - 10 mm long. It flowers from June to autumn. A single plant can produce
three thousand individual flowers. Purple Loosestrife reproduces prolifically
by cuttings and offshoots as well as by seeds. A single plant may produce up to
300,000 seeds, which are carried by wind, water and animals, which explains how
it spreads so quickly.
called purple loosestrife "long purples" and "dead men's fingers."
mustard is a cool-season biennial herb that ranges from 12 to 48 inches in height
as an adult flowering plant. Leaves and stems emit the distinctive odor of onion
or garlic when crushed (particularly in spring and early summer), and help distinguish
the plant from all other woodland mustard plants. First year plants consist of
a cluster of 3 or 4 round, scallop edged leaves rising 2 to 4 inches in a rosette.
Second-year plants generally produce one or two flowering stems with numerous
white flowers that have four separate petals. Garlic mustard is the only plant
of this height in our woods with white flowers in May. Fruits are slender capsules
1 to 2.5 inches long that produce a single row of oblong black seeds with ridged
seed coats. Stem leaves are alternate and triangular in shape, have large teeth,
and can be 2 to 3 inches across in fruiting plants. Petioles are longer on the
leaves towards the base. Garlic mustard can also be distinguished by its uproot,
which is slender, white, and "s"-shaped at the top of the root. Picture of Garlic
Mustard Garlic Mustard
Garlic mustard is an exotic species introduced from Europe presumably by early
settlers for its supposed medicinal properties and for use in cooking. It is widely
distributed throughout the northeastern and Midwestern U.S. from Canada to South
Carolina and west to Kansas, North Dakota, and as far as Colorado and Utah. It
is shade-tolerant, and generally requires some shade; it is not commonly found
in sunny habitats. It cannot tolerate acidic soils. The invasion of forests usually
begins along the wood's edge, and progresses via streams, campgrounds, and trails.
This species is a biennial that produces hundreds of seeds per plant. The seeds
are believed to be dispersed on the fur of large animals such as deer, horses,
and squirrels, by flowing water and by human activities. In our areas, seeds lie
dormant for 20 months prior to germination, and may remain viable for five years.
Seeds germinate in early April. First-year plants appear as basal rosettes in
the summer season. First-year plants remain green through the following winter,
making it possible to check for the presence of this plant in your woods throughout
the year. Garlic mustard begins vegetative growth early in the spring, and blooms
from May through early June. Fruits begin to ripen in mid-July, and are disseminated
through August. Viable seeds are produced within days of initial flowering.
Nightshade (Solanum Dulcamara L.)|
Nightshade is a semi-woody vine rarely more than half an inch thick, yet capable
of clambering 30 feet or higher into trees. Introduced from the Old World, it
is now abundant here in many habitats, preferring moist, wild places. It is a
troublesome weeds. Its foliage stinks like that of elderberry bushes. Beginning
mid- to late May, 1/3 to 1/2 inch purplish (occasionally white) flowers with yellow
centers, bloom, gradually changing into green, then yellow, next orange, finally
bright red berries. A very rare sport has berries that stay orange even in decay,
never developing the slightest red. When fully ripe the berries are harmless,
not deadly. The leaves are 1 to 3 inches long and often bear lobes near their
bases. After autumn and frost yellows the leaves, they drop, bidding goodbye to
the colorful clusters of egg-shaped, translucent, juicy berries hanging on the
bare, withered stems.
can be poisoned if they eat this stinking noxious pest. It is not all bad, however:
in herbal medicine one use of the plant is for eczema. Some other names are: Woody
or Climbing Bightshade, Tether Devil, Felonwood, Felonwort, Blue Bindweed, Snake's
Poison Food, Poison Flower, Scarlet Berry, Snake Berry. Note the omission of "Deadly
Nightshade," despite the fact that a large number of people so call this plant.
(The original Deadly Nightshade, Atropa Belladonna, is happily extremely rare
in comparison. It truly lives up to its ominous names: Death's Herb; Dwale; Belladonna;
Naughty Man's Cherries.