Every state has its weeds.
In Utah, members of the Pliking Club pull Dyers Woad, Myrtle Spurge and Goatshead. Dyers Woad, which decorates Ogden’s hillsides with its small yellow flowers and can be used to create blue dye, is also an introduced nonedible plant which crowds out native plants, reducing edible vegetation for wildlife. Myrtle Spurge is actually toxic and best pulled using gloves, while Goats head is every bicyclist’s dread with its sharp, thorny seeds (my husband has had as many as 6 flats on a single ride).
In Washington, volunteers pull Purple loosestrife, Himalayan blackberries and Fragrant lily pads.. Purple loosestrife with its beautiful stalk of purple flowers can take over an entire area in only a year. Himalayan blackberries, while tasty, create dense thickets that block light, killing understory plants and impeding access with their sharp thorns. Fragrant lily pads also spread quickly, blocking light and oxygen from aquatic vegetation while creating a stagnant water flow.
Which takes me back to the mud at Ames Lake. Homeowners near the area gather a couple of times a week during the late summer to pull the invasive lily pads, which threaten to take over the small lake. The evening I participated, volunteers arrived by paddleboard, raft, pontoon boat and kayak. The most endearing volunteer was a brown dachshund named Daisy, who rode on front of a paddleboard and vigorously yanked out every lily pad that came within reach, placing them on the board. When she couldn’t find a lily pad, she would return one to the water for the thrill of plucking it out again. Her person, Maria, said that Daisy was never taught to pull lilies but learned by example.
We gathered more than 6 large trash cans of lily pads, then enjoyed drinks on the dock while watching the sun set.
Not a bad way to spend a summer evening.