Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pushing through the gout weed.

I have previously lamented the presence of gout weed, Aegopodium podagraria, a highly invasive member of the Apiaceae, in my garden. The reason I didn't attack it whole hog this spring, dig the whole mess out of the bed, was because I knew that somewhere in the middle of the patch was one of my favourite perennials, Astilboides tabularis.

Astilboides tabularis making its entrance.

This plant is native to China and Korea, and like many of my favourite plants, such as vanilla leaf, bloodroot, or the umbrella plant, Darmera peltata, is as much or more appreciated for its foliage as its flowers.

Astilboides tabularis, rising above the gout weed.

The leaves can expand to two feet in diameter, and are a pleasing pale green --they almost make the gout weed look good! The leaves of A. tabularis are similar in form to those of Darmera, a native of California and Oregon, and both are in the Saxifragaceae, a family big on leaves, not so big on blossoms. Both plants like moist conditions, and do well near ponds or other water features. Astilboides tabularis was previously placed in the genus Rodgersia (was known as shield-leafed Rodgersia), another Asian genus of saxifrage with eye-grabbing foliage.

Rodgersia pinnata (I think).

So I urge on my Astilboides, a diamond in the rough, hoping it can shade out the invasive plant, but doubting it can. I may have to dig up that whole area yet, but I'll wait until fall, after the large round leaves have dropped.


BigAssSuperstar said...

I'm in Nova Scotia, and on a mission to eradicate the goutweed that's taking over the yard at my new home ... although we've spent hours on digging out the flower bed at the side of the house, we're not near the end ... or the beginning of the end. It still feels like we're at the beginning of the beginning. This is going to be a fight.

I'm going to take on the back half of the yard with a weed whacker tonight ... and blast the hell out of it with Roundup when it comes back.

And, for the record, my first idea for handling it was "cover it with gas and set it on fire" ... but, sadly, we're not even allowed backyard bonfires in my neighbourhood.

Hugh said...

Good luck. I have yet to come near to a victory over this plague.