Join Diane, Delores and me as we grow a little magic using this theme. You can join us! Leave a poem (yours or another) in the comments on any of our blogs. Or post it on your blog, and leave a comment to tell us where to find you.
I will not be writing a poem about all the lovely, innocent little plants that are coming into their own as our spring warms up. Instead, I'm going to write about an alien, invasive plant that crowds out those innocents.
Don't give me that peace sign, green alien (plant) -- I know what you're really like. (photo: Pixabay)
Behold the Japanese knotweed. It's described in horticultural journals as “thuggish,” “ferocious,” “invasive” and an “indestructible scourge.” Click here for more information if you like horror stories. Do not click if you are prone to nightmares.
There is a patch of this plant growing along the trail I walk. It grows fast, spreads quickly, and it's very hard to get rid of, because it has a gigantic root system. It resembles bamboo, and people who aren't familiar with it often call it that.
Real bamboo shoots (picture borrowed from this website)
Japanese knotweed-- new sprouts among last year's hollow, cut-off stalks
As you can see from the pictures, these two plants do not really look alike when seen side by side. But Japanese knotweed does have the segmented stalks that remind people of bamboo.
Mature knotweed plants. Deceptively pretty. Source: Invasive Species Council of BC
It is worth noting that in Japan, its country of origin, this plant has 186 kinds of insects and 40 kinds of fungi which are natural enemies that help keep it in check. Unfortunately, everywhere else seems to be missing those helpful organisms.
I thought it fitting to write a haiku about Japanese knotweed. After all, the haiku originated in Japan, too.
Just Say No, Kiddies
"Tales from Knotweed Woods" . . .
Worst ever bedtime reading
For little green plants.
I almost deleted this whole post and started over, because I am basically a big wuss and even reading about this plant is giving me the shivers. But then I thought maybe it was a good thing for gardeners everywhere to know, if they don't already. This species has spread across Europe, the United States, and was found in Canada for the first time within the last decade.
And I thought it would help me if I poked fun at it. You know, like whistling in the dark.
Thank you for reading, and I promise to be all brightness and light next Poetry Monday.
Here's a nicer image to leave you with:
Now this is a beautiful thing. Pansies are one of my most favourite flowers. (photo: Pixabay)
(Thank you to Jimmy for writing about kudzu and prompting me to find out more about our own local invasive species!)
A haiku? Colour me awed.
And sadly we have too many invasive plants. I hope we never acquire this one. Or kudzu.
My friend JT ran a tree service and had horror stories about out of control bamboo, but had a couple of nice little patches of it growing along his fence.
I asked him how he kept it from taking over and he told me his secret: he had buried a couple of old bathtubs next to the fence, and the bamboo only grew inside of them.
-Doug in Oakland
With all the insects etc that keep it in check in Japan, why would anybody bring some of it anywhere else that doesn't have these things? Or...why didn't they research and bring the necessary insects etc along with them. which may or may not have worked..given the different environment, the insects and whatever else may have just died or taken over.
Reading about Japanese knotweed was like reading a horror story. It’s frightening. So much money has spent on its destruction too. I don’t know how a plant can be so hated as this one is.
Gosh, it does look so pretty in that picture. However, pretty can be deadly to other species when it takes over.
I do love pansies and have pots full of them now. However, they cannot take our heat and wither and are gone by mid-June. I plant them again in October.
Terrible stff. I've not met any 'in person' and I don't want to.
I hope that, too.
That's a clever solution. And effective.
I read that it was sent to the UK as a botany sample, and planted in the United States as a way to stop erosion. In both cases, people simply didn't know how out of control it would get. I think they are trying to import some insects in the UK, but it's tricky to do that, too, because those may get out of control, driving out native insects and becoming a whole new problem.
Exactly. Frightening and expensive.
You are a dedicated pansy fan, planting twice! I was too late last year to get any at our garden center. I'm looking forward to a few this year, though.
I feel creeped out just walking past it now, Delores!
I LOVE pansies! Those little, bearded faces . . .
Not as happy about the knotweed, though. Yikes.
I hope I never see knotweed, but I like your haiku.
OMG!!! Now I'm going to be scrutinizing every tiny little plant that dares to poke its head above ground around our place. What a horrifying monster!
But your haiku was cute, and I love pansies, too... :-)
Pansies are beautiful.
I had no idea about this plant! Sounds like something they'd use in a horror film :)
We are in total agreement :)
Thanks, Janie . . . it was a walk on the dark side with that haiku :)
Thanks, although cute isn't the word that comes to MY mind! lol
They are! I don't know anyone who doesn't like them.
I know, right? Kudzu is probably even worse, though - it grows even faster than knotweed and the root system is just as bad . . .
The picture of knotweed in flower reminded me a lot of privet, which his one of our invasive species.
The haiku is brilliant
back in our native town i used to see a plant that people find out of control and it was so hard to get rid of it but it does not look like this one .
i love plants so much but when in movies like jumanji they try to eat you up it horrifies me
i loved your cute little haiku dear Jenny!!!
thanks for lovely sharing and pics!
Ah, yes, Japanese knotweed. We have it here too. In fact I took a picture of it just the other day. There are eradication programs but there's so much knotweed I don't see they could be successful!
Thanks, kylie :)
I didn't realize privet was invasive in Australia. I wonder what the earth's greenery will look like in another hundred years, as more and more of it changes. If we still have a habitable planet. Oh dear. That went dark quickly!
Thank you, baili! I, too, was reminded of the movie Jumanji when I read about kudzu, the other plant I mentioned in this post. Very creepy!
I suspect all countries have plants and animals that were brought in somehow but got out of control once they got established.
It seems like an impossible job, doesn't it? I think the efforts in the United States are concentrated around bridges and other structures whose safety can be undermined by the knotweed root system. Like I mentioned to kylie, above, I wonder what the planet will look like, plant-wise, in another hundred years.
Hello Jenny, I'm afraid I don't know anything about invasive weeds, although I do know they can be and are a nuisance. It should be illegal for anyone to take a sample or cutting from another country and plant it in their own, or is that being naive on my part? Am I simplyfying it too much and stating the obvious?
I do like pansies and we have some here in our garden also violas which are similar. My favourite garden flowers are bluebells (although usually found in woodlands), snowdrops, cowslips and my all-time favourite iris.
No poem from me this week. Sorry! I did start one, but it didn't work out as I wanted it to, so gave it up as a bad job and shall concentrate on next week's theme.
Have a good week.
I think I've read that it's not legal to take plants from one country to another . . . but don't quote me on that. Apparently in the case of some of the invasive species they were imported on purpose, to use to control erosion or for other reasons. People just didn't realize what would happen when they came to countries with no natural enemies that would keep them from taking over.
"Yes" to all your favourite flowers! And I understand completely about poems not working out, but I think you've already seen evidence of that :) Thanks for dropping in, Joan.
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