Endangered species

When a Noxious Weed is Our Hope for Salvation

Welcome to the Scotch Thistle. She’s a beautiful thing, don’t you think?thistle1The British Columbia Ministry of the Environment has listed it as one of our most noxious (i.e. disgusting) weeds. Aw. Look at her.


You might as well say that beauty is a noxious weed. So here’s the thing. She’s called a noxious weed because she has the potential to render wild land unsuitable for grazing cattle. Cattle, you see, were the industry around these parts some 155 years ago, and we’re just not going to let that go. Not even for this…


Gosh, but you’d think the cattle were tired of it all, wouldn’t you? I mean, grazing the gardens of the Syilx people down to dust to provide an economic stream for the new government. That’s a kind of mining, I think. It’s gone on so long that almost all the grasslands in the Okanagan are weeds and the butterflies, that live here and nowhere else (don’t look for them in a forest, that’s just not going to happen) have only one home left.


Butterfly in the making, at home in a noxious weed. You know what? I think that given the circumstances and all, this weed is not noxious. She’s beautiful.


It’s time that we rebuilt the land again. It’s the ethical thing to do.


6 replies »

  1. She certainly is beautiful. And considering the sort of land she grows on……isn’t that a pretty poor prospect for producing pasture for cattle? Perhaps someone should consider planting her cousin and harvesting artichokes. Perhaps the two of them could cohabit?


    • Hi,

      ah, it seems that people will pasture cattle until there’s nothing left. It seems to be a function of industrial farming in a capitalist context, but I think we’ve hit the wall on that one. Good idea with the artichoke… but they require more sunlight hours. Someone should be breeding short season artichokes, I say! But, no, they’re splicing fish genes into corn, so that the stuff will last longer in Loblaws. Well, also a function of industrial farming in a capitalist context.

      Amazing how the patterns fit together, isn’t it!




  2. It surprises me that artichokes would need more sunlight than you get. I thought you’d be running over with it. My friends in Cornwall (UK) grow artichokes and while their hours of daylight are long they are also interrupted by quite a few showers (or more than a few last year!). They also have clusters of thistles here and there, and nettles with which Maggie makes a delicious springtime soup.


    • We can start them in a greenhouse and get one globe per plant … it’s the length of the season before frost that’s the issue. 🙂 I wonder if we can harvest the thistles for tiny hearts. Do you know?


      • Apparently you can eat the hearts though I’ve never tried. Have a look at eattheweeds.com/thistle and ediblewildfood.com/bull-thistle for some information. Too bad that you get only the one globe from your artichokes. Usually there are smaller ones that appear but I suppose your shorter growing season doesn’t allow them time to form.


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