Invasive Plants, H to Z

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Hairy Cats Ear

Hairy Cats Ear is well known on the southern coast, many a gardener has cursed them at one time or another. Hairy cat’s ear is a perennial plant with rough, hairy lobed leaves that grow to 15cm long, it is a low lying edible herb or weed found in lawns, gardens, and fields. The plant is native to Europe but has also been introduced to the Americas, Japan, Australia and New Zealand where most consider it to be an invasive weed. Read More….



Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam has flowers that resemble an english policeman’s helmet (one of its common names). It is native to the western Himalaya and was brought to Canada in the early 1900s as an ornamental garden plant. This plant is swiftly spreading through the watercourses and along logging roads all over the coast and is a real problem on Vancouver Island. Read More….



Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed has established itself on the coast of BC and now grows on all parts of the coast. It is a perennial originally from Asia, it was introduced to North America in the late 1800s as an ornamental. It has horrendous invasive potential due to its rapid growth and reproductive capabilities. This plant flourishes along streamside banks, ditches, wetlands, and disturbed areas. Read More….



Orchard Grass

Orchard Grass is widely distributed throughout most of the south coast and quite invasive on Vancouver Island and is more common in the southern half. Orchard grass was introduced to North America from Europe as a forage grass over 200 years ago. Since then, it has spread through much of Canada and the U.S. and is still cultivated for hay and pasture. Read More….



Ox-Eye Daisy

The Ox-Eye Daisy is a rhizomatous perennial that grows up to 75 cm tall. Due to its unpleasant taste and odor, most grazers avoid this plant, leaving it to spread easily within grazed grasslands, pastures, and rangelands. It smells like baby vomit. Infestations decrease forage for wildlife, decrease local plant biodiversity, and may compromise vegetative ground cover due to its growth form that results in exposed soil. It invades fields, waste places, and roadsides. Read More….




Periwinkle has established itself on southern Vancouver Island and is now easy to find as far north as Campbell River. It came to Vancouver Island as a garden ornamental. But quickly escaped to the wild. It grows on various areas of the BC coast. Bright blue or violet flowers, dark leaves, and the plants’ ability to grow in shade make it attractive in the garden. It is very pretty. Read More….



Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife is a woody half shrub, wetland perennial, considered regionally noxious under the BC Weed Control Act. It is found in wet areas at low to mid-elevations, growing in ditches, irrigation canals, marshes, stream and lake shorelines, and shallow ponds. It is common in the Lower Fraser Valley and found all over Vancouver Island. Read More….



Scotch Broom

Scotch broom is an escaped garden ornamental, common west of the Coast Mountains in southwest BC, and is out of control on the BC coast. It is an evergreen shrub, with bright yellow flowers that may have red markings in the middle. The flat seedpods are initially green, turning dark brown to black with maturity and are hairy. It grows up to 3 metres in height at maturity. Read More….



Spotted Knapweed

Spotted knapweed is a biennial to short-lived perennial and considered regionally noxious under the BC Weed Control Act. Currently distributed throughout southern BC. It first appeared on Vancouver island in 1905 and has established itself quite well with many very large patches showing up on the North Island. Read More….



Spurge Laurel

Spurge laurel is a new invasive plant for coastal BC. It is also found in warmer parts of the province, in roadsides, moist woods, and lowland areas.  Almost all parts of the plant are highly poisonous to pets, livestock, and humans. The leaves, bark, and berries are toxic when eaten or even just touching them can cause skin irritations, blistering, swelling of the tongue, nausea and even a coma from ingesting any part. Read More….



St Johns Wort

St. Johns wort is showing up more and more on coastal BC and is a nasty invasive plant that has some good medicinal qualities. It has long been used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory for strains, sprains, and contusions. It also has been used to treat muscular spasms, cramps, and tension that results in muscular spasms. Read More….



Wild Carrot

The wild carrot is also known as Queens Anne Lace and it is the ancestor of the cultivated carrot. It is known on the coast as the wild carrot, it is not generally considered edible. The plant is native to Europe and Asia but has become well established along roadsides, clearings and waste areas throughout much of the pacific northwest. Read More….



Yellow Flag Iris

Many ponds, lakes, and Island gardens of Vancouver Island are surrounded by a beautiful water-loving plant called Yellow Flag Iris. They are harmless-looking and quite fetching at first glance, but don’t let its pretty looks fool you, for this plant can cause serious problems to the local ecosystems. This iris grows in dense patches that will force native plants out, alter the natural habitat and block water flow. The plant grows over all of Vancouver Island. Read More….



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