The North Fork’s newest noxious weed

Blueweed - Photo by Trish Hoffman

Trish Hoffman, USFS Weed Specialist, wanted to provide us with a “heads up” that a noxious weed new to the North Fork has been discovered just north of the border on the Canadian side in the river corridor.  Spring runoff erosion will likely be bringing this new invader, Blueweed, onto North Fork properties that are adjacent to the Wild and Scenic River Corridor, if it hasn’t brought them south previously.

It grows to about 2 to 5 feet tall.  The flowers are in varying shades of blue.  The stamens are pink.  From a distance blueweed has been confused with lupine.

Blueweed contains an alkaloid that is toxic to humans and animals.  It attacks the liver.   Blueweed is pullable, but gloves and a long-sleeved shirt must be used because the stiff hairs on the plant make handling it similar to handling fiberglass.  Small infestations can be pulled or dug up and bagged.  If a larger infestation is found, call the Flathead County Weed Department for advice on using herbicide.  If blueweed is found growing with a hay crop, it will ruin the hay when baled and stored due to the plant’s high moisture content.  (I know this probably applies to only a couple of North Fork landowners.)

Early identification of this new invader and eradication of it while the infestations are small are critical to effective and relatively inexpensive control.  Besides, it’s just part of being a good steward of the land and a good neighbor.  For more information, contact Trish Hoffman at 406-758-3510.