Friday, April 20, 2007

Answers to the Noxious Weeds Quiz

Below are the answers to the 10 photos posted last week as CFWEP's "Know Your Noxious Weeds" Quiz. I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that my job was very easy in that NO ONE tried out their noxious, nada, nothing!!!?
Of course, the bad news is that we don't have any winners in the War on Weeds and we still have a whole pile of CFWEP stickers to give away.
Don't worry, we'll have more quiz opportunities for you in the future. Hopefully we'll get some participants on the next one!!!

Knowing your noxious weeds is important, as a landowner, a sportsmen or just part of being a well-informed citizen. Here are the answers to the quiz, along with a little extra information on each one:
1. Baby's Breath; NOXIOUS. This pretty, but not too pretty ornamental is commonly seen in floral arrangements. Unfortunately, like a lot of "pretty ornamentals" it is also HIGHLY INVASIVE, especially in disturbed areas. Baby's Breath is not on the Montana Noxious Weed list, but it's a big enough problem in Butte that it's on the Silver Bow County noxious weed who's who. See a vacant lot in Butte? Then chances are, you're probably looking at Baby's Breath too.

2. Houndstongue; NOXIOUS. Houndstongue is a growing problem in a lot of riparian areas and is a Category 1 (that's BAD) Montana Noxious Weed. A native plant to Europe, it contains a toxin that causes liver cells to stop reproducing. And if that's not bad enough, have you ever been "licked" by a houndstongue? If you've ever come home or back to your car from a walk and found dozens of little burrs sticking to your socks, shirt, pants, waders, pretty much anything...YOU'VE BEEN LICKED! Make sure you remove the burrs before going somewhere else: these are the plant's seeds and we don't want to give houndstongue any help in spreading.

3. Spotted knapweed: NOXIOUS. By far the most infamous of Montana's noxious weeds. Category 1: 'Nuff said. If you don't recognize this one, chances are you are a noxious weed yourself.

4. Matrimony Vine; NOXIOUS. This is another one of Butte-Silver Bow's noxious weeds. A strong colonizer of mining contaminated and disturbed areas, this bushy shrub is a beautiful specimen of a noxious weed. It's bright red-orange berries are a spectacular contrast to the pretty purple flower in the photo, and it provides a great source of food and excellent habitat for a variety of song birds and small mammals in Butte, like the feral cat. However...(with noxious weeds, there's always a "however")...the reason this member of the nightshade family got its name is fairly simple: once you have it, you're married to it, so to speak. Its hard to get rid of and it has a unique penchant in the Butte area to find a crack in a vacant building (many times in occupied building's too) foundation and quickly fill the entire basement, attic or any other available living space with bush.

5. Bitterroot; Not Noxious. Also called "rock rose" the bitterroot as you should know is Montana's state flower.

6. Field bindweed (aka Morning Glory); NOXIOUS. Another pretty but dangerous plant. Field bindweed, a member of the morning glory family, forms thick mats along the ground in a lot of pastures and other disturbed landscapes. It, like knapweed and houndstongue, is a Category 1 Montana Noxious weed.

7. Plains Prickly Pear; Not Noxious. How would you like to go for a barefoot jog across a prairie full of this sticky fellow? John Colter did. One of Montana's only native succulents, this cactus has a showy yellow bloom early in the summer (June).

8. Truffula Tree; Not Noxious. For those of you who are Dr. Suess fans, here is the victim of Geisel's classic book, The Lorax. "The touch of their tufts is much softer than silk and they have the sweet smell of fresh butterfly's milk." I have yet to find one growing in Montana.

9. Leafy Spurge; NOXIOUS. Because of its ridiculous invasiveness and the even more ridiculous difficulty in controlling its infestations, Leafy Spurge just might be Public Enemy No.1 when it comes to noxious weeds. Spurge can "pop" its seeds several meters and its roots have been documented to extend as deep as 20 feet into the soil. With these two methods of invasion, spurge is one tough customer, earning it a Category 1 listing.

10. Purple Loosestrife; NOXIOUS. This is a Category 2 Montana Noxious Weed list. A riparian invader, it is also a "pretty" noxious species, another escaped European ornamental. You can see from the photo that when loosestrife finds an area it likes, nothing else stands a chance.

These are just a handful of the weeds that are marching their way across Montana. I strongly urge you to spend a few minutes on the Department of Agriculture's Montana Noxious Weeds website at . There is lots of interesting information here, as well as a list of contacts who could come to your class to help you learn more!
That's it for the quiz...
As a fun exercise to get your in-quiz-itive minds in shape for CFWEP's next test, I invite you all to take the Fish, Wildlife and Parks' easy to use, on-line Bear Identification test. Here's the link:
It's somewhat of a secret (maybe it's not), but most mountain ranges in western Montana have at least some grizzly bears. The FWP quiz is a requirement for anyone wanting to hunt black bears. But it's also a good test of your bear identification skills. Is it a black bear or a grizzly? You need an 80% to pass...See how well you do!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so Matt doesn't feel so bad about the sad showing on the quiz, I want to point out that quite a few of us DID take the test, and failed so spectacularly that we were to ashamed to enter the contest.

Of course, now that I think about it, this won't make Matt feel any better at all, will it?