Tag Archives: invasive

“Purple Loosestrife” – Sauble Beach, Ontario

“Purple Loostrife” - Sauble Beach, Ontario

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” 
― Euripides

Continuing on my “purple phase” theme, here’s a beautiful invader. Though a beautiful flowering plant, in Ontario and other areas where it was introduced as a garden flower, this garden escapee soon established itself in meadows and wetlands, crowding out native plants.

It spreads through rapidly spreading rhizomes and seeds. Each plant can produce over one thousand seeds. It also has no naturally occurring predators, so it spreads uncontrolled, though something, likely earwigs or slugs, seems to be feasting on the leaves below the blossoms.

The plant was spreading like wildfire a few years ago, but recent dry and hot summers seemed, coupled with human efforts to eradicate it, seemed to be taking its toll on the population. This year, which has been extremely wet, seems to have enabled it to bounce back and I’ve seen much more of it an areas where it has not previously occurred. SO the battle goes on.

It’s a shame that such a pretty plant needs to be so aggressively invasive. But, that seems to be a common theme. Plants are introduced from overseas because they are beautiful in gardens, but once they escape, without natural controls, they can quickly take over. The dandelion is perhaps the best known example. Imported for its food value centuries ago, it has now spread to every corner of the continent. However, as evidenced in this image, local insects wildlife also adapts and soon begins to eat the introduced species. Nature is quite adaptable, but with limits.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/60 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

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“Purple Loosestrife”

“Purple Loostrife”

“My temple is the swamp… When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most impenetrable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter a swamp as a sacred place, a sanctum sanctorum… I seemed to have reached a new world, so wild a place…far away from human society. What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs, if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty.”
― Henry David Thoreau

This beautiful, delicate wildflower is considered an ‘invasive species‘ in my native Ontario, and most of North America. It was, just like many other species, imported as an ornamental plant. But, with no natural predators and it’s extraordinary  number of seeds, it escaped its domestic bonds and soon began to take over Ontario’s wetlands, choking out native species like cattail.

The image above if of a single stalk and loosestrife grows in tall clumps, colouring the wetlands bright magenta.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 160 mm
1/8 sec, f/22.0, ISO 200

High Resolution image on 500px:

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“Winter Dreams” – Seaton Trail

“Winter Dreams”

To start this out, I’m stealing a wonderful quote from a fellow blogger spanishwoods.

“In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles . . . and the most marvelous examples.”
—Michel de Montaigne

The above statement resonates with me on so many levels. I don’t live in an area with grand vistas, mountains, or oceans. The countryside surrounding my home is, at first appearance, quite bland.

But, if you have the eye to see deeper, and appreciate the fine details, the landscape opens up into a world of light and colour.

Today, after nearly two weeks of not venturing very far afield, I got up, looked at the stunning, clear light, and despite it being -12 degrees celsius outside, headed out with the intention of a much needed walk in the woods (and some photos). I made about 40 photos of forest trails, frozens creeks, and plants along the way. As the quote above states, it’s often the ordinary things, that on further observation, become quite spectacular. On occasion, I’m surprised by some detail I did not notice as I made the photo. After all, I’m limited to what I see through the viewfinder. Along my walk I stopped in a few locations to photograph the tiny seed pods of a plant called Dog Strangling Vine. Apparently, it’s an invasive species, imported deliberately or accidentally from Europe some 150 years ago. I don’t know that a dog has ever actually been strangled by it. The plant’s real name is European Swallow-Wort. These plants often grow in thick tangles, clinging to and climbing up trees, but every now and then a single tendril reaches between trees and those tend to make good subjects for photos where I can isolate a single seed pod or two. They are quite ordinary, but unique in how they grow.

I was very surprised today, in reviewing my photos that, despite it being mid January, my camera picked up the most awesome purples, and pinks as a burst of colour bokeh behind the seed pods. I don’t recall seeing anything pink or purple in the background when I made the photo. So, I’ll take this as a special gift. It adds a real dream-like effect to the image, coupled with the burst effect of a few background branches. If I had planned this, I would have been pleased. But, to have a complete surprise is awesome and keeps me inspired to seek out more of these special moments.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @200mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 -0.33, ISO 250

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