Brian Kyle tangles with a forest of Giant Knotweed in Nunns Creek Park.

It’s ‘knot’ bamboo and we don’t want it

Rhubarb fans are putting away the last of this summer’s crop, and whatever didn’t go into muffins, crisps, jams, or syrup, is safely frozen for a mid-winter treat

Rhubarb fans are putting away the last of this summer’s crop, and whatever didn’t go into muffins, crisps, jams, or syrup, is safely frozen for a mid-winter treat.

A member of the buckwheat clan, rhubarb is related to wild dock and sorrel plants. It’s not a fruit, but a vegetable, with stalks resembling celery. The leaves contain oxalic acid and can ruin an otherwise healthy compost heap.

Not everything rhubarb is sweet and good.

A similar introduced (imported) species, giant knotweed (Polygonum sachalinense), grows on Vancouver Island and along the West Coast where it has become naturalized. Many wild food enthusiasts appreciate the young, tender and edible shoots that cook up just like rhubarb.

Long considered medicinal, Both giant knotweed and Japanese knotweed are commercial sources of the powerful antioxidant Resveratrol. Despite its healing benefits, no one admires this perennial weed’s aggressive and noxious behaviour.

Giant knotweed is a bane to the environment because of its invasive nature. Introduced from Asia as a garden ornamental, this huge plant often exceeds three metres in height. The botanical name, polygonum, translates as “many joints or knees,” as the plant’s hollow stems feature distinct raised bamboo-like nodes (joints) at regular intervals.

There’s no mistaking the giant, heart-shaped leaves, ranging in size from 15-30 cm, and at least 2/3 as wide. Heart-shaped leaves, however, aren’t enough to make us love this import.

Dense thickets exclude other vegetation, while deep, creeping rhizomes make eradication difficult; new shoots can even grow through asphalt. It can resprout from fragments and create new infestations along streams whenever plant parts fall into the water. This difficult freshwater weed degrades native plant and animal habitat by choking it out.

Campbell River’s Greenways Land Trust continues to battle this escaped ornamental, and Nunns Creek Park knotweed plots are studied to determine best practices for eradication.

Giant knotweed infests wetlands and waterfronts (Campbell River estuary, Willow Point waterfront), the Cumberland Wetlands, and waterways in the Comox Valley.

Despite its remarkable size, bamboo-like poles and plate-sized leaves, it is ‘knot’ bamboo, and we don’t want it in our wild lands.

Contact Christine by e-mail: wildernesswest@shaw.ca.

Just Posted

Meet your new best friend with the John Howard KidStart mentorship program

When Adrienne Biggs, 10, goes over to her mentors’ Tom and Gloria… Continue reading

Family Literacy Week in Campbell River a chance to celebrate play

A few additions to the itinerary from previous years, week-long event ‘shaping up to be super great’

Vancouver Island amateur radio operators now better equipped to help in an emergency

More courses starting soon for those interested in helping SRD communicate after a major event

Campbell River-area First Nation chief steps down due to health

After serving five terms as Chief of the Wei Wai Kum Nation,… Continue reading

Report: City of Campbell River needs a maintenance plan for Nunns Creek Nature Trust

Extensive ecological inventory shows both the good and the bad of city-leased lands downtown

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read