Bastard cabbage update

Because I still like saying “bastard cabbage”.

Bastard cabbage

There’s a war raging in Texas this spring — between wildflowers and bastard cabbage.

Officials say bastard cabbage, also known by its proper name, rapistrum rugosum, poses a threat to the livelihood of wildflowers, which bloom from April to September in the Lone Star State.

“This invasive plant outcompetes our native wildflowers by blocking sun with its broad leaves, leaving some fields a complete monoculture of bastard cabbage,” said officials with the University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. “It particularly loves disturbed areas, like new roadsides and lands cleared for development.”

According to the University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, bastard cabbage has surfaced into “natural areas along streams” plus forests. Additionally, officials have recorded bastard cabbage in at least 17 states and multiple Canadian provinces.

The Texas Invasive Species Institute says the bastard cabbage can form a “vegetative cover of mostly one species”— more specifically a monoculture. History has shown the wild plant typically grows in areas such as agricultural fields, disturbed lands or roadside. Although its unclear how bastard cabbage became prominent in the United States, experts say its seeds spread through contaminated grass seed mixes and even mulching materials. As far as its appearance, the multi-leaf plant can grow between one to five feet or higher. While most of the plant remains greens, there’s portion of it that have a reddish color. It grows from early spring to the summer.

Of course I’ve written about bastard cabbage before, and of course it would still make a great band name. The Chron had two articles within a week about bastard cabbage, noting that the recent rains has helped it flourish this year; that was the case in 2012, also a spring following a dry year, when I last noted it. The thing about bastard cabbage is that it’s a nice flowering plant, which makes people want to keep it around, but it really is best to try to eradicate it. Know before you grow.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in The great state of Texas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.