I Spy in the Sea to Sky…

I Spy in the Sea to Sky…
I Spy in the Sea to Sky…

Gardeners might call this shade-loving perennial groundcover heavenly. Sadly, there is nothing divine about this plant. In fact, it displays rather devilish behaviour in shaded habitats in the Sea to Sky.

In riparian soils and near shady trees,

Grows a low-lying plant with blotchy white leaves,

It escapes from gardens and plant baskets too,

Spreading by seed, stolon, and root.

Yellow Lamium (Lamium galeobdolon), also known as Yellow Archangelis popular in ornamental gardens, containers, and hanging baskets. It spreads quickly, generally as a garden escapee, creating dense monocultures, smothering native plants, and allowing little else to grow. It provides poor food and shelter for native wildlife and suppresses the diversity of native plant species typically found in our forest understories. And as if that weren’t enough, Yellow Lamium stinks! 

Yellow Lamium is highly adaptable and grows in a wide range of conditions from full shade to full sun, in sandy and heavy clay soils alike. Though it prefers moist shady sites, it is also found to grow on dry sites prone to drought. Yellow Lamium is deciduous in colder climates (like ours!), however, when its leaves are out, it is easy to spot in forested areas along the Valley Trail in Whistler and in the Garibaldi Highlands in Squamish. 

A member of the mint family, with square stems, opposite oval-shaped and silver-variegated leaves, and whorls of yellow “hooded” flowers, Yellow Lamium spreads effectively by seed, stem fragments, and from root nodes. Though typically a groundcover, it behaves at times vine-like. 

Prevention is the first line of defence—avoid planting it in your ornamental gardens or near natural areas. Instead, choose from the many other attractive shade-tolerant native plants, as listed in the Grow Me Instead guide. For instance, native and exotic varieties of Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.) are especially showy and do extremely well in containers. Because Yellow Lamium spreads by stem cuttings, you must dispose of it in the garbage, not the compost! 

If you see Yellow Lamium growing anywhere in the Sea to Sky, do not forget to report it here

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