|Removing Malta star-thistle at Spring Lake|
The downside to all the Spring rains are the abundance of invasive, non-native plants that are crowding-out the wildflowers and becoming a monoculture. A prime example is the bastard cabbage also known as turnip-weed or common giant mustard. The large lobed leaves shade out all the plants below its five foot height. It is considered a noxious-weed in Texas.
Another invasive is the Malta star-thistle. It is native to Europe and North Africa. The plant spreads by seed and is insect pollinated. Currently it is gaining ground at the Spring Lake natural area and probably arrived on construction equipment.
Master Naturalists are working the area above the new parking area on Sunday afternoons pulling the plants by the roots. Replacing the invasive with natives is a goal of the project and recently a wildflower mixture was introduced.–LJ [Information from Texas Invasives.org]