Weed officials say now is time to deal with perennial invasive plants

By The Aberdeen Times staff

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

Two particularly troublesome noxious weeds, now in full growth around Idaho, have come up on the state noxious weed eradication program radar and citizens are being asked to give special attention to identifying and eradicating these weeds wherever possible. Idaho law requires landowners to control noxious weeds on the lands they own.

Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium) and perennial pep-perweed (Lepidium latifolium) both represent serious problems for Idaho landowners because if left untreated they will eventually take over the land and block the growth of desirable vegetation.

"Ironically, both of these noxious weeds most likely were introduced to the United States from Europe and Asia because of their ornamental value; both weeds have attractive blooms which can make people think they are pretty flowers that can be planted among landscapes. But the reality is these noxious weeds pose very serious problems for landowners here in Idaho," said Roger Batt, Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign coordinator.

Scotch thistle represents a serious problem. It can be found along bike paths, trails and other recreational grounds. It is also commonly found in pastures and along waterways, ditches and canals. Weed officials say scotch thistle infestations are now present in 40 of Idaho's 44 counties.

"Scotch can grow 8 to 10 feet tall. It is a branching plant with hairy, grayish blue foliage, large, spiny leaves and flowers, which turn reddish-purple. Its sharp spines can keep livestock and wildlife from grazing areas by forming a physical barrier that blocks access," Batt added.

Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) is a member of the mustard and cabbage family. It is also known as Pepperwort or Peppergrass. This weed crowds out any desirable vegetation in the course of a few years. Due to its extensive root system other plants cannot regrow in the area. It can grow into a mass that totally covers the ground and surrounding vegetation blocking the native vegetation from receiving any light.

Perennial pepperweed is green throughout the summer with a height of 3 to 6 foot tall. The weed has very small white flowers that grow in small clusters at the terminal end of the shoot. The leaves are extremely waxy, with a prominent, whitish mid-vein.

Officials recommend that you visit the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign's Website at to learn how to identify these two noxious weeds. The Website also provides extensive information on the best control methods for dealing with these and other noxious weeds.

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