August 04, 2010

Is a Weed a Weed?

This morning I was reading a blog post about sunflowers because my dear friend, Debbie, has been gone since Friday. She's in Phoenix because her grandson, Kody, was born yesterday. Even though I don't see her every day when she is home, I miss knowing that Debbie is right next door. Debbie LOVES sunflowers.

That post indicates that some sunflowers are weeds. I imagine those are the kind that grow in my back yard. How can something so happy looking be a weed? That led me to thinking about Dalmation Toadflax.

My friend, Jen, recently got married at Red Butte Garden. While I was wandering around, I found a noxious weed display that had samples of each species. There was Dalmation Toadflax. There's a colony of this species that we monitor on one of my work projects. I've never seen it in bloom, so I was completely surprised to find this:

Really?! Something that looks like my beloved snapdragon is a noxious weed?! And then I started thinking, what exactly is a noxious weed? Well, my friends, here is your educational tidbit for today. According to wikipedia:
A noxious weed is an invasive plant species that has been designated by county, state or provincial, or national agricultural authorities that is injurious to agricultural and/or horticultural crops, natural habitats and/or ecosystems, and/or humans or livestock. Most noxious weeds are introduced species (non-native) and have been introduced into an ecosystem by ignorance, mismanagement, or accident. Typically they are plants that grow aggressively, multiply quickly without natural controls (native herbivores, soil chemistry, etc.), and adversely affect native habitats, croplands, and/or are injurious to humans, native fauna, and livestock through contact or ingestion.
Those are some nasty buggers!

But really - suppose I had a hedge of those growing along my fence. Suppose I added sunflowers. Every single hot summer day would be full of minimally watered, golden yellow, blooming smiles! And maybe the glare from my neighbor's white vinyl fence would be tempered and I would avoid a migraine or 7.

I don't have any livestock to worry about (other than my completely intelligent, non-weed eating black lab, Kona) - and if that bulldog next door that bit the nice, young, pretty neighbor girl and left her with an ugly scar on her thigh decided to chomp away to aid his digestive issues, would I really be responsible?

Notice that I didn't mention my own not-so-intelligent, weed eating chocolate lab... I like Hilo, but he is just missing a brick sometimes. He's really good with my boys, and he's stopped chewing on things - except for the cable and the tube between the propane tank and the BBQ grill. Propane doesn't taste good. I keep telling you that! Silly animal...

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