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Re: [permaculture] weeds? (Star thistle)
No, I'm not interested in planting it. From the posts, it seems most well adapted to
western climes, anyway. My thought on succession, however stems from one person's
indication that this thistle is a pioneer species which, in my training refers to a
species which sets the soil for more secondary species. These secondary species,
however, most generally end up weeding out the pioneer species, either through further
alteration of soils, by shading or other means. My thought was to what type of
secondary species could be planted to weed out this thistle, providing it had already
done its job of soil improvement.
Just a rambling thought, though, as truly the only thing that I "know" about this plant
has come from the recent posts. We have our own thistles here which one has to be
careful of when walking barefoot. Just the run-of-the-mill pink version, though, which
I will probably mow once they have bloomed but before they seed, as I think they're
quite lovely, but would prefer they not spread any more than they have. They get to be
quite large as well and most are now past the point of hiding in the surrounding
grasses -- they're quite obvious and easier to avoid.
There is a lot of data on non-native weeds, which is why ecologists dislike them so
much. Commom plantain, as well as many other common weeds, is an introduced species
from European ancestors as I understand it. Personnally, I'm quite glad that it made
its way across the ocean as it's the best remedy I've found for the nasty black fly
There is probably a plant or other organism which does in fact control the star thistle
in its native lands rather well, but in past trials at bringing the "controller" over,
we have ended up with ever more problems as the "controller" usually goes out of
control. I would agree with you that there is probably something that would keep its
growth in check that is somewhere near its present occupied habitat, it will just be a
trial and error process in finding it. I would first look at what keeps it in check in
its homeland and then explore similar families found near its present site. Maybe its
not that simple, but then again, I think that's a very different approach to solving
this sort of problem than we have traditionally taken, i.e. herbicide control.
stephan leimroth wrote:
> i'm not sure from your message if you were thinking of
> introducing star thistle to your site or if you
> already have it.
> if you don't already have it, Don't Plant Star
> controlling it is a nightmare and eradication seems
> near impossible. (plus, your neighbors will hate
> i don't know the next plant in the succesional line;
> here in california, it just grows and grows and grows.
> since attempts are made to control it, it never gets
> a chance to finish its work--however long that maybe.
> i wonder if there is information anywhere regarding
> the end result of any non-native 'weeds' allowed to
> run their course. that would be a dream for me!
> my sometimes square, mainstream ecologist friend
> insists that, since star thistle is an introduced
> species to this system (and seems to create a mono
> culture if allowed), there is no benefit to it nor any
> succession. my intuition and faith in the workings
> says this is wrong (not just for this 'weed'). i can
> only hope...
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