I Spy in the Sea to Sky…
Something that can be one meter high
Something that likes it sunny and dry
On me you’ll usually find something that flies!
Did you guess it? This week’s invasive species is St. John’s Wort. With bright yellow flowers and seeds that can survive in soil for 10 years, it can easily displace our native plants and take over areas with dry soil and full sun.
St. John’s Wort reduces available forage for livestock and wildlife, and contains a toxin that when ingested by light-coloured animals can cause skin irritation and blistering. Its aggressive root system sends up new sprouts separate from the parent plant.
St. John’s Wort is widespread in the Sea to Sky, but there would be a lot more of it if it weren’t for biocontrol that keeps it in check. If you look closely at St. John’s Wort plants, you can often find foliar feeding beetles on its leaves. They are metallic bronze-green colour and are most effective in their larvae stage.
You can help us track St. John’s Wort distribution in the Sea to Sky by reporting it on the SSISC website.