Obknoxious Knapweed

I thought the lavender wildflowers that have popped up in almost every unoccpied spot of grass in Frisinger Park were a nice addition of color (they’re deceptively gorgeous) until I read a little column in the Ann Arbor News yesterday that fingered them as spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), a pernicious invasive weed. Originally a native of central and Eastern Europe and Russia, it has no natural predators in the Western Hemisphere and can grow at will and choke out native plants. They can’t really be rooted out, more’s the shame for our native flora, but now I haven’t got much compunction about stomping on them as I walk through the park.