Python of the plant world

19 days ago

No doubt everyone has heard about the pythons in the Everglades. This is an introduced species which is doing great harm. There is no clear, easy, affordable way to eradicate them.

We have an identical problem in the plant world. It escapes the evening news because your typical American has exactly ZERO botanical knowledge. The culprit is Oriental Bittersweet Vine or Celastrus orbiculatus. This is an introduced Asian weed. Apparently the berries on the fruiting vines are sought after for decorations. Birds spread the seed far and wide. If that's not bad enough, pollen from male vines contaminates the genepool and our native bittersweet becomes polluted.

OBV is an aggressive, high climbing vine which produces abundant seed clusters in the axils of the vine. Roots are distinctly orange.

Just like the pythons of the Everglades there is no easy was to eradicate them. Cut large stems close to the ground and paint with 41% glyphosate, especially effective in Sept/Oct. Smaller vines can be yanked out by the roots. You will have to followup more than once.

I want to encourage everyone to get out and observe the natural landscape. (It's gonna mean going beyond the picket fence). Observe our parks, riparian and natural areas of eastern half of N. America. The pic above shows the weed girdling a young hickory. Around here they get started in holly and eventually take over the whole tree.

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