You’ve been reading along for over three years now, so you are obviously all well-versed in the ways of our local California native flora. But walk down any trail this time of year and lo and behold at ground level you’ve got 90% non-native plants. Such is the plight of disturbed, high traffic areas; diversity gets its botanical butt kicked in favor of the aggressive and adaptible invasives. What can you do about it? Not much, but knowledge is a good start, here are some of the most common ones:
Let’s start with some that get a pass from me for various reasons, their non-native status nonwithstanding.
Fennel isn’t horribly invasive, smells good, pretty flowers, and somewhat edible. All-in-all, not so bad.
The backyard favorite. They’re pretty and the stems are lemony tasting too, or so I’ve heard. I also get great satisfaction from yanking them out.
Ah mustard, why even fight it anymore. A California staple, local butterflies, bees and other insects have come to depend on the nectar and seeds.
Mustard’s cousin. With so many colors I can’t hate you either.
A very unique color in our wildflower pallette, I have a soft spot for this diminuitive invasive.
Now that I’ve got your attention with the pretty stuff, I shall now stultify you with some grasses. Bear with me, if you learn these four you will be in permanent possession of knowledge that you can use to amaze friends on all future hikes. This stuff is literally everywhere:
See that wasn’t so bad. And don’t you feel smarter? A few more non-natives that aren’t quite as benevolent as the first group, but are not quite despised (by me at least)
Another backyard favorite. They’re easy to pull out at least right?
The cool variegated foliage makes up for the aggressiveness of the species… almost.
Yes, it tries to strangle other plants. But the purple is pretty intense and when you have it wrapping around the gold of the mustard it’s like a Laker’s dream come true. As for Knick’s fans like me…
Yellow sweet clover is especially ubiquitous this year. Still, I don’t hate them.
I’ve hear people use the dried dock flowers in arrangements.
Last and least, although these three may have some redeeming qualities, they are overall aggressive, nasty, difficult to get rid of and should be launched en masse into space if at all feasible.
Along with a few filaree cousins these SOBs can take over acres of land with a strangulating mat of spikes which love attaching themselves to passerby. The sheer obnoxiousness of this species far outweighs the momentary frisson of seeing the carpet of purple flowers.
Try pulling these out without gloves. Heck, try pulling them out with gloves. Nighmare either way. And finally
Enjoy the heat and happy hiking.