Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I nominate *#@%# cabbage

State Highway 87 east of San Angelo
Yes, I hereby nominate Rapistrum rugosum, otherwise known as BASTARD CABBAGE, as our official state invasive plant. Bluebonnets? In a few years, we won't have a state flower any more. Because the BASTARD CABBAGE and other invasive plants will push them out of our native habitats.

I shouldn't be so flippant because this is serious, Texans. This stuff is EVERYWHERE. Enroute home last week from San Angelo, I photographed colonies that are overrunning highway right-of-ways southeast of San Angelo. We also saw it growing west of Eden. Here in Blanco County, it's awful east and west of town. Scary!
Looking across State Highway 87 at the cabbage-filled median.
I spotted a few winecups, but the bastard cabbage (background) will likely wipe them out soon.

West of Blanco, bastard cabbage engulfs an entire pasture along RR 1623.
You can barely see some black cattle in the top right quadrant of this photo.
When I stepped out of our car, I found hundreds of  young Malta star-thistles, the invasive we've been fighting in our Wildscape. It's not as easy to spot when you're driving past.
I head someone comment, "Oh, those yellow flowers along the highway? They're pretty!" NOT!
I found this interesting news report from last April, "Bastard cabbage under fire from state." After watching it, I emailed both Damon Waitt, a senior director and botanist the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and Dennis Markwardt, vegetation manager with the Texas Department of Transportation, to ask what they forecast this spring regarding the invasive.  

"I'm not seeing as much bastard cabbage as last year," Dr. Waitt wrote back. "I think the low rainfall last September-October had the same effect on bastard cabbage as it does on our Texas wildflowers. Malta star thistle seems to be on the increase in Texas."

No reply yet from Mr. Markwardt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been battling Malta Star thistle for years. This year is definately the worst. I'm in Kerr County and we've been in extreme drought, which seems to be the ideal condition for this thistle. I have no hope of getting rid of it, as we have quite a bit of acreage and the only way I know of to truly get rid of it is to pull it up by its roots.

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