Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Alien invaders

I had a note from a reader of The Path thanking me for being kind to purple loosestrife, a wildflower many Americans consider an invasive nuisance.

It was imported from Europe in the 1800s as a garden ornamental and soon went wantonly wild, clogging roadside wetlands with sheets of color.

Here in western Ireland purple loosestrife happily shares its space with other species. The beautiful bully of our ditches is the orange flower in the photo, montbretia, which came to these islands as a hybrid from South African gardens at about the same time purple loosestrife went west.