Beware of this beautiful flower, warns Invasive Species Council

·2 min read
Apart from the colour of its flower, and its inability to get along with native plants on P.E.I., the yellow flag iris looks much like the blue flag iris. (P.E.I. Invasive Species Council - image credit)
Apart from the colour of its flower, and its inability to get along with native plants on P.E.I., the yellow flag iris looks much like the blue flag iris. (P.E.I. Invasive Species Council - image credit)

P.E.I.'s Invasive Species Council wants more Islanders to be on the lookout for yellow flag iris.

The flower looks much like the native blue flag iris, and it can be difficult to tell the difference when it is not in blossom.

"Absolutely gorgeous," said council coordinator Erica MacDonald.

"It will look a little different than our native flag iris in that the petals obviously are a different colour, but it also tends to take over a water course or a riparian area, so it doesn't mix in as much with our native plants as something like a blue flag iris should."

The plant spreads easily, said MacDonald. It's root system can reach out about 10 centimetres a year, and over time a patch on the edge of a pond can completely fill it in, choking out all the water. On a river, a small piece of root can break off, float downstream, and establish the plant in a new area. The seeds also float.

But that is not the most common way they spread.

"The biggest pathway for introduction is humans," said MacDonald.

"They certainly don't mean to and in many cases they just aren't aware that they're planting an invasive species and it could potentially spread to other areas."

The council is now working to eliminate more than a dozen infestations across the Island. MacDonald believes there are many more, so the council is also working to educate Islanders about the problem plant and ask them to report any they find.

Sightings can be reported through EDDMAPS..

The Invasive Species Council is holding information sessions on how to eradicate yellow flag iris in Kensington Thursday and Saturday, with sessions at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The sessions are at Tuplin Creek,12303 Victoria Street East.

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