This page is dedicated to the volunteer plants in the garden. Some will be ones you definitely want to pull and throw out and others could be left to grow—more the gardener’s decision on whether it is a useful plant or a weed.
Black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
This is a pull and throw plant. It is on the invasive species list as a noxious plant and musts be controlled. Wear gloves when pulling to avoid contact as it may cause a rash. Place all plant material in the black bin for disposal. To learn more about this plant read the fact sheet on the Alberta Invasive Species Council website (abinvasives.ca)
Common plantain (Plantago major)
Common plantain is a non-native plant that thrives in compacted soils along footpaths and road margins. It tolerates mowing. It was brought to North America from Europe where it is native and has traditionally been used in folk remedies. Because it can tolerate trampling and soil compaction, it has an important role in breaking apart hard-packed soils, while holding the soil in place to prevent erosion.
This may be a case of right plant, right place. If you have the right place, maybe it can stay? Read more about this plant by visiting the Canadian Wildlife Federation site for edible wild and not so wild plants.
Foxtail barley (Hordeum Jubatum)
Native to North America, foxtail barley is a drought-tolerant perennial plant species in the grass (Poaceae) family.
Known for its resilience to high salinity, it grows in dense bunches from a mass of fibrous roots and reaches about 60 cm (2 ft) tall. Each 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long nodding flower spike sits atop a tubular hollow stem typical of grasses. On display from late spring until midsummer, the spikes are green, tinged with pale pink and purple, and then fade to light tan as they mature. The long silky tails are said to resemble the tails of red foxes. While they are considered a weed, the young flower spikes are soft and attractive as they wave gently in the breeze.
Foxtail barley reproduces only by seeds and is a prolific seed producer. The seeds can be carried a great distance by the wind and have sharp, backwards pointing barbs which can cause sores in the nose, mouth, and eyes of pets and livestock. Read more about this plant by visiting the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Showy Locoweed (Oxytropis splendens)
Showy locoweed is a drought-tolerant native plant. Around June, it will start to bloom. It has pretty purple/pink bonnet-shaped flowers common to members of the pea (Fabaceae) family.
It is available for purchase from nurseries specializing in native plants and is considered a good plant to use when xeriscaping or creating an alpine garden—could be a keeper!
For more information on this plant, visit the E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia (The interactive map shows North American specimen data collection sites)