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Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are a serious threat because they outcompete and displace native plants and negatively impact fish and wildlife habitat. The Invasive Plant Council of BC notes that invasive plants are the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss.

While there are many different invasive plant species in our area, posing different degrees of risk to human and ecosystem health, we will identify the ones that we believe currently pose the greatest threat to our wild fish habitat ( riparian areas) in Qualicum Beach.

You can help by:

  • reporting any infestations that you think need attention to us or the Town Of Qualicum Beach

  • eliminating them in your own backyards and educating your friends and neighbours

  • volunteering for work parties that help control the spread of these weeds


Japanese Knotweed

This knotweed originated in Asia and is still sometime used as an ornamental in gardens.  This highly invasive plant is found along roadsides and flourishes in moist areas. It can crowd out all other vegetation. It spreads quickly and is every difficult to control and eradicate. It can cause bank erosion, clog waterways, and lower the quality of habitat for wildlife and fish.

We are just learning more about it's presence near our streams, and how we might deal with it. See this article from the Town of Qualicum Beach published in the fall of 2013. We plan to provide more information about it the months ahead. You can also find more information by checking the sites listed at the end of this section.


Giant Hogweed

This is a perennial in the parsley family with tuberous root stalks that can grow up to 5m in height. It is common along roadsides and along river and stream banks. Each plant typically produces about 50,000 winged seeds. These seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 15 years. The leaves and stems contain a clear, watery highly toxic sap that can result in burns, blisters, and permanent damage to the skin.

Giant HogweedSpecial precautions have to be taken when dealing with this toxic plant. We are aware of infestations near Beach Creek in the Heritage Forest and near Milner Gardens.

The French Creek Conservation Society has implemented control programs for this along French Creek and it's tributaries for the last six years. In June 2011 the Province declared this a "noxious" weed and it is subject to control in Qualicum Beach by municipal bylaw.

Photo shows a team from French Creek Conservation Society tackling this Hogweed infestation off Grafton Road in July of 2011.


Lamium

LamiumThis is a very familiar perennial trailing evergreen ground cover. It has been used extensively in hanging baskets, which have been subsequently discarded over stream banks, causing widespread infestations.

Lamium is very aggressive and does best in moist, shaded sites like ravines. It can produce copious seeds that are dispersed primarily by ants, which can transport them up to 70m. As well this plant can spread by vegetative runners, growing up and over other forest dwelling plants and smothering them. We have significant lamium colonies along the banks of Grandon Creek. Photo above shows one of several lamium sites on the banks of Grandon Creek Trail between Crescent Road West and Hoy Lake Road.


English Ivy

English Ivy is easy to identify and like other invasives very easily spread. Thick ivy mats overwhelm plants on the forest floor and the forest canopy, smothering and debilitating trees.


For More Information

Check these sources for more information on Invasive Plants:

Invasive Species Council of BC

Invasive Alien Plants Program (IAPP), Ministry of Natural Resources Operations

Weeds BC