Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Knapweed is Ironic (Enjoy the Honey)

Photo by Dave Stalling
It's invasive, noxious and obnoxious. Yet it's pretty.

It makes for good honey, thanks to the ironic work of a declining species whose habitat it is harming because it displaces various nectar-producing natives that collectively, each in it's own time, flower from early spring until the first snows hit. Or at least when the first snows used to hit, more often than they do now within our warming world.

More irony: Our impacts to the earth exasperate the invasion of these non-native, drought-loving plants that thrive in soils recently disturbed by events such as floods, avalanches, off-trail "all-terrain" recreational vehicles, and wildfires -- events occuring more frequently and with more intensity than they historically did as the climate we are altering with greedy indulgence continues to change.

These foreign plants have negative, sometimes severe, consequences to our native flora and fauna which other native species evolved with and rely on -- including all the clean air, clean water, wild places and wild animals we enjoy and depend on for various reasons. 

And it's from Russia!

Having served during Reagan's cold-war years, the plant's nationality evokes a sad sort of sinister, evil-empire bias ironically twisted among guilty feelings related to the unfortunate fact that my "distaste for Russia" gullibility is still alive and mentally active.

The plant is waging psychological warfare.   

It's the rhizomatous perennial's version of the black widow. Yet it doesn't poison us, as could the spider, but instead it helps us kill ourselves. It's a vegetative form of the canary in the coal mine. Only it doesn't just offer us a pretty warning; it's thrives in our self-destructiveness.

Knapweed is ironic.  

Enjoy the honey.


  1. Especially more ironic since many of our native fauna and flora have evolutionary origin in Siberia or eastern Russia.

    Not a statement knapweed should be considered naturalized since horses were considered native to North America once 11 000 to 13 000 years ago, but the geological and biological timescales advanced enough for the genus to be considered as invasive in today's ecosystems.

    Just ironic considering the origins of our plants and animals, and where the knapweed comes from.