Monday, February 9, 2015

Dastardly Malta star-thistle

Malta star-thistle rosette
 This week, I was dismayed to discover that more of that invasive Malta star-thistle has come up in our front yard. Sigh. I've been pulling pulling pulling. You'd think that since we've gotten pretty good control of it, the stuff wouldn't show up any more. But nope. I heard or read that the seeds can remain viable for up to 10 years. So I guess some seeds are still hanging around.
Another rosette coming up
And another....
But these are NOT Malta star-thisles. Can you tell the difference?
Which one is the bad guy? (Answer: On the right)

Nope, this is NOT a Malta star-thistle! It's an Engelmann daisy.

Any bad guys in this photo?  (Yes, on the right. Engelmann on the left.)

Another Engelmann. You sure don't want to mistake these for Malta star-thistle!


TexasDeb said...

Oh for Pete's sake! I am already struggling with plant ID issues (not to mention butterfly, bug and bird ID goof ups) and now I've got an invasive that looks SO close to the other rosettes on the block. My only consolation is, if I've read correctly, the star thistles can be pulled before going to seed and if you get the root out (never a sure bet but worth trying!) that plant is then taken out of production entirely.

I have all sorts of ruffledy rosettes in my beds. Most of them are wildflowers, a few of them are considered weeds (not by me!) and maybe, just maybe, I realize now that one or two of them might be something a lot less welcome. I'm certainly going to keep an eye out, especially out front, where construction trucks for new and renovated houses nearby are rumbling back and forth nonstop. I'm guessing those truck tires are introducing all sorts of new seeds into the neighborhood mix.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Uh oh. Yes, it's best and ideal to get the entire thistle. But they evidently produce masses of seeds.Which were likely released before we knew what bad species we had. And yes, seeds are carried by passing vehicles too. That's why we asked the city a few years ago not to mow the city easement along the Meadow. Send me some photos of your rosettes? I'd be glad to look at them. :-)

Rae Ann Forester said...

We had no idea what they were when we first saw them in our wildflower meadow. It took me several searches and tries to identify them - mainly because the identified photos online did not show enough stems & leaves to make a positive ID. We love our Englemann's daisies. They were volunteers that have spread on their own. They happily co-exist with bluebonnets & Indian blankets and spear grass in Grand Prairie.

Anonymous said...

You think this one is bad.. check out Bastard Cabbage AKA Rapistrum rugosum
It is taking over parts of the Hill Country and areas around N.Tx.
Jane C.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Oh I KNOW!!! We just don't happen (luckily) to have that one on our property. I've helped pull thousands of bastard cabbage from Blanco State Park, and volunteers are still battling it there. Bastard cabbage is AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL!!!! AGREED!

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