Virginia bluebells often forms dense colonies and will readily self seed under ideal conditions – almost to the point of being troublesome.
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) intrigue me. Several years ago, one seeded itself out under a mature non-native Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) that overhangs the pool. The ground around the base of the tree has always been bare (as is typically the case with the ground under any Norway Maple). It takes some pretty tough grass to sustain itself under a mature Norway Maple canopy!
The Norway Maples in our yard are around 50 years old. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, the Norway Maples are now considered an invasive species.
READY, SET, BLOOM
Now the first thing in the spring we see under this Norway Maple is the leaves of the Virginia Bluebells poking through the ground. It seems within a couple weeks they’re ready to bloom, and then they continue to bloom for quite some time. Their colors are awesome — pink to lavender in bud form turning to various shades of blue in flower — so when you have buds and blooms showing all at the same time there is a kaleidoscope of colors. The tragedy of this, of course, is that they are a spring ephemeral which means their lovely green foliage will after a time wither to nothing and then we have bare ground again.
SOWING THEIR SEED
Added to my intrigue is the Virginia Bluebell’s ability to sow themselves any and all places — almost to the point of being invasive. As I look at our yard during the spring of the year, I see new plants in new places all around. The tragedy of this, of course, is that they are a spring ephemeral which means their lovely green foliage will after a time wither to nothing and then we have no plants there again.
NOTE: To see the photos enlarged, just click on each photo.
Lin Westler says
Please post a link to an official site (USDA, university, 𝘦𝘵𝘤) that states that 𝘔𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘢 𝘷𝘪𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢 is an invasive species, in any place in the US.
Donna VanBuecken says
Lin — There is one UW-Madison – Wisconsin Horticulture The trick is mowing the plants before they seed — Donna
The article you linked to at UW-Madison – Wisconsin Horticulture says ” . . . almost to the point of being invasive.”
That is a very different from saying that they are an invasive species. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) defines an invasive species as this:
“As per Executive Order 13112 (Section 1. Definitions) an “invasive species” is a species that is:
1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and
2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.”
– from https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/what-are-invasive-species
It is important to use the term “invasive species” appropriately to educate about the threats of invasive species. Not doing so creates confusion via their misuse and misinterpretation.
There is no comparison between the threat of an invasive species like 𝘓𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘶𝘮 𝘴𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘢 purple loosestrife or 𝘌𝘶𝘰𝘯𝘺𝘮𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘢 burning bush and a definitely noninvasive native species like 𝘔𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘢 𝘷𝘪𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢
Misusing the term in this article has already caused confusion and misunderstanding among my students, as it will to whomever reads it. Please edit the article, to prevent more misunderstanding.
Thank you, Donna Van Buecken